Aamir Khan's Sitare Zameen Par cuts down on Delhi shoot as city gets expensive, films like Raid 2 shift to Lucknow, MP - Hindustan Times

Aamir Khan's Sitare Zameen Par cuts down on Delhi shoot as city gets expensive, films like Raid 2 shift to Lucknow, MP

May 14, 2024 03:34 PM IST

Delhi is no longer the hub for film shoots. Films like Sitare Zameen Par and Raid 2 have cut down on the number of days in the Capital, due to mounting costs.

If you saw Delhi in any film or web show made in the last year, chances are high that it’s not the city: they may have just recreated it in Lucknow or Madhya Pradesh.

Actors Aamir Khan and Ajay Devgn
Actors Aamir Khan and Ajay Devgn

The Capital is expensive to shoot in now. Want to shoot at Rajiv Chowk metro station? Prepare to shell out 2 lakhs per hour. Want to shoot at the international airport? A cool 12 lakhs for four hours. A production head tells us, while refraining to be named, “If you want to shoot at Rajiv Chowk for 4 hours, it means eight lakh rupees for the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation. GST ki baat agar nahi bhi karte, 2,36,000 will be taken by New Delhi Municipal Council, a lakh rupees will be taken by the parking guys. Around two lakh rupees by the Delhi Police for security. You can do the maths.”

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Now we have got to know that even shoots originally planned for longer duration, have been revised. Aamir Khan’s Delhi schedule for Sitare Zameen Par has been cut. A source tells us, “The earlier plan was very long, but now it has been shortened. Instead of a month, now it will be shot in Delhi only for 8-10 days, around July.”

Janhvi Kapoor’s Ulajh, which recently wrapped up, was another film. “Earlier, it was going to be shot for 12-13 days in the Capital. But the budget was overshot in London, and the money remaining was less. They shifted the shoot to Bhopal, they will either show that as Delhi or base the plot in Bhopal instead,” tells us a source.

And when we talk to the production teams, they lament that they are being driven out of work. “I recently shot a big web series at Worldmark in Aerocity. It was a six to six schedule from evening to morning. 44 lakh rupees were spent. Bataiye Dilli kaun aayega? Also, earlier the crew size on outdoors would be 80-90 people, today it is more than 150 people,” tells us Ravi Sarin, a veteran line producer who earlier used to handle shoots for 20-22 films in a single year. It’s been cut down by 80 percent, he adds.

We even hear that producers and actors who own production houses have started telling their writers ‘Delhi mat likhna story mein’. The same haveli in Chandni Chowk which would earlier be made available by the owner for 25-30,000, now asks for 4-5 lakhs for a day’s shoot.

Tarun, who is currently line producing a web show starring Karan Wahi in Delhi, says, “Uttarakhand is the most budget-friendly place for shoots in India.”


Makers of Ajay Devgn’s Raid 2 have opted to most probably recreate Delhi in Lucknow. “They shot in the city for four days, including India Gate, and then 47 days in Lucknow. Atleast 20-25 films in today’s time are being shot in Lucknow because of the subsidies and quick permissions,” we are told by a production person.

Aanand L Rai’s upcoming film Nakhreywali did something similar. “The team shot in Lucknow for 40 days, and recreated Delhi there. That was cheaper. They wanted to shoot in a shoot friendly bungalow in Barakhamba Road, who will take a lakh rupees for a day. Aanand got that for 30,000 in Lucknow. They wanted to shoot in Delhi for 15 days, but a five star hotel stay for the actors will cost 15,000-18,000 plus GST. Lucknow mein 4500 mein milta hai, kitna paisa bacha. UP also gives subsidy of crores,” our source says.

Navmeet Singh, who has been handling work for big films in the past in the Capital, says he is planning to shift work to Lucknow, Uttarakhand, among others, “If there’s a budget of 30 crores for a film, the outdoor will cost 20 crores, so makers cut it. They prefer to shoot in Mumbai instead, kam se kam accommodation ka cost bachta hai poore crew ka. If some story requires Delhi critically, they cut the schedule down from 50 to five, and cheat by recreating the galis somewhere else.”

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