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Iceland wooing Indian film industry

Iceland, the Nordic island nation famous for Europe’s largest glacier and some of the world’s most active volcanoes, is keen on for more people to see its picturesque locations – such as in Indian movies.

Made in Iceland: Shah Rukh and Kajol in “Dilwale”.

“Iceland is a popular location for Hollywood production houses. But we haven’t seen much interest from the Indian film industry. We want more Indian films to be shot in Iceland,” said Thorir Ibsen, Iceland’s ambassador to India.

In a chat with The Hindu, Mr. Ibsen said Iceland is offering a 20 per cent rebate to foreign production houses that shoot movies and TV programmes in the country. That is, 20 per cent of the total production cost in Iceland will be refunded. Starting next year, this will become 25 per cent.

Five Indian films have been shot in Iceland, including Shah Rukh Khan-Kajor-starrer Dilwale. “After Dilwale, there’s an increased interest among Indian tourists and film-producers in Iceland. Five more Indian production houses have expressed interest in shooting in our country,” said the Ambassador, declining to name the projects.

On Tuesday evening, he met a group of Tamil film producers in Chennai, and rolled out the red carpet for the regional film industry. On Wednesday, Mr. Ibsen will meet Telugu film producers in Hyderabad. “I am trying to convince them of what Iceland offers for the Indian filmmakers. Iceland also has a very vibrant film industry which works with some of Hollywood’s biggest production houses. They could provide crews, equipment and assist in finding locations for Indian films,” said Mr. Ibsen.

Tourism is the largest foreign exchange earner for Iceland. The country, which has a population of over 300,000 receives 1.5 million tourists a year, and the industry is growing 16-18 per cent annually. The number of Indian tourists visiting Iceland a year is comparatively very few, but the country is seeing a steady increase in Indian visitors, said the envoy. In 2015, over 1,000 Indian tourists visited Iceland, which expected to double this year.

Besides tourism, Ambassador Ibsen said, there are other areas of cooperation between India and Iceland. Icelandic companies are present in the renewable energy and food processing sectors in India. Icelandic companies are already buying software solutions from Indian services industry. Geothermal energy and hospitality are other potential areas of cooperation.

Mr. Ibsen expects Indian companies to invest in the hospitality sector in Iceland and Icelandic renewable energy companies to set up more businesses in India. Regarding political cooperation, he said India should play more active role in the Arctic Council, an intergovernmental forum that addresses issues faced by the Arctic countries. India and China have observer status in the Council.

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