The recent London Film Festival saw plenty of activity re film production involving the UK and India. I can’t wait for the release of Slumdog Millionaire from Danny Boyle, filmed in Mumbai and due out in January 2009 in the UK. The UK link to the announcement of Deepa Mehta’s next project is more tenuous, but she is now to adapt Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children for a shoot starting in 2010 as a Canada-India production. Rushdie himself appeared in a US film recently and also supported Nandita Das by introducing her film Firaaq at the Telluride Film Festival in September. He is reported to be interested in appearing in a small role in the adaptation of his book which was recently awarded the title of ‘Best of Booker Winners’.
On October 22, the UK Department of Culture, Media and Sport announced a new UK-India co-production treaty. This means that Indian producers can get access to UK ‘soft money’, by-passing the so-called ‘cultural test’, by making co-production deals. A summit of Indian and UK producers was held on October 23 and Screen International estimates up to 10 new productions could benefit from the deal over the next two years.