Chennai (MAS): The procedures that filmmakers have to follow to obtain permission is mindboggling – bank guarantees, indemnity bonds and hefty security deposits.
In spite of having so many formalities at the back-end, what surprises railway officials is the perseverance of many filmmakers in using authentic train and other railway properties on their sets, especially given the access to state-of-the-art studio craft and SFX facilities.
For one, the application seeking permission for a film shoot involving railway property has to be made at least one month in advance. And, if a rake and crew is required, the same is released only after weightage has been given to passenger needs, and that too against a security deposit of Rs.50,000 per coach.
Further, the filmmaker has to remit a hefty insurance premium against the value of railway properties used apart from furnishing a refundable Rs. 5 lakh bank guarantee as indemnity bond.
Among the six railway divisions in Southern Railway, Chennai and Madurai have featured the most popular locales for film shoots (about 25 locations each), followed by Salem (10 locations) , Palakkad, Tiruchi and Thiruvananthapuram (9 spots). Railway officials point out that with the expansion of operations at Chennai Central and Egmore stations leaving only a window of three to five hours as “idle time”, these terminals are more or less out of bounds for film shoots these days.
However, with busy traffic routes not sanctioned for shooting schedules, these days most of the train scenes are being shot in places like Chengalpattu, the Guruvayoor-Shoranur stretch, Sengottai, Thenmalai, Udhagamandalam, Tenkasi and Palani, an official said.