Lights, action, camera! Focus back on Vizag as a film hub

Lights, action, camera! Focus back on Vizag as a film hub

Film industry bigwigs to meet Dy CM Pawan Kalyan today

Visakhapatnam: A team of the Tollywood, which had gone into silent mode following the insult they had to face when they approached the previous government at a meeting that was attended by Megastar Chiranjeevi, Prabhas, Mahesh Babu and a host of other bigwigs from the Telugu film industry, will now be meeting Deputy Chief Minister Pawan Kalyan on Monday afternoon.

Led by popular film director Ashwani Dutt, Dilraj, Chinnibabu and many other elders from the industry, the team would be meeting Pawan Kalyan to discuss the problems faced by the industry in Andhra Pradesh, issue of price hike of cinema tickets, problems of theatre owners, etc.

On the other hand, Visakhapatnam, which has been considered as one of the frequented destinations for the film fraternity because of its conducive ecosystem, is likely to bounce back as the most preferred hub for film shootings. The TDP government during its previous tenure between 2014-2019 had allotted land for the Vizag Film Nagar Cultural Centre to develop the industry in Visakhapatnam.

The cultural centre was formed to develop the industry in Visakhapatnam by providing facilities like a training centre for film artistes, a drama theater, among other amenities, at a cost of Rs 100 crore. Initially, 15 acres of land was allotted at Thotlakonda. But as Buddhist communities opposed the proposal, five acres of land was later allotted near the Rama Naidu Studio. The society paid Rs 22 lakh to the government for the land.

In 2019, the number of members of the society reached 1,630 from 1,154. However, after the YSRCP came to power, irregularities started surfacing.

The leaders of the Telugu Desam Party allege that Kayala Venkata Reddy, who is the current president of the executive committee of FNCC, and other YSRCP leaders, violated rules by giving membership to their drivers, watchmen and staff working in their offices. The TDP leaders pointed out that the Andhra Cricket Association secretary SR Gopinath Reddy and Andhra University Vice Chancellor PVGD Prasad Reddy were included as core committee members of the FNCC.

Meanwhile, Bheemunipatnam MLA Ganta Srinivasa Rao, along with other TDP leaders, visited the Vizag Film Nagar Cultural Centre in Visakhapatnam. They said that several members joined the society even without having any film background. They demanded that such members should give up their membership voluntarily.

The FNCC was set up by the TDP government in 2015. However, the YSRCP caused much damage to the society, the MLA pointed out. He mentioned that the misuse of funds to the tune of Rs 32 crore would also be investigated. “Efforts will be taken to revive the lost glory of the centre,” the MLA assured.

It is suggested to elect a working group that works in alignment with the objectives of the FNCC and develop an ecosystem for the film industry in Visakhapatnam.

There are allegations that some of the members in the society were given membership even without paying a prescribed fee. Also, the YSRCP had introduced norms to benefit its party members and those associated with them.

In the past five years, producer and former president of FNCC KS Rama Rao said, the YSRCP did not bother much about the centre. “With the new government taking the reins in Andhra Pradesh, we are hopeful that the centre would revive its lost glory,” he added.

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