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Shatrughan Sinha’s Dream Comes True, Bihar Gets its Own Film City

Bihar is finally set to get its very own film city.

Updated
India
3 min read
Actor turned politician, BJP leader Shatrughan Sinha. (Photo: Reuters)

More than nine years after actor-turned-politician Shatrughan Sinha expressed his desire to open a mega film city in and around Patna, the Nitish Kumar government has finally decided to build it near picturesque Rajgir.

We want to promote the film industry in Bihar. And we are serious on this issue. We have, therefore, decided to build Bihar’s first film city in the foothills of Rajgir. We have also acquired 20 acres of land near Peelki in Rajgir.
Shiv Chandra Ram, Bihar’s Minister of Art, Culture and Youth Affairs

The film city, which is likely to be built 14 km from Nalanda, will be closer to the Ratnagiri Hills in Rajgir, which houses the world’s highest peace pagoda, Vishwa Shanti Stupa, visited by lakhs of Buddhists from across the world every year.

Japanese Buddhist monks offer prayers at Viswa Shanti Stupa (Photo: Reuters)
Japanese Buddhist monks offer prayers at Viswa Shanti Stupa (Photo: Reuters)

The 20-acre proposed film city in Peelki, Nalanda district, Nitish’s hometown, will be well connected by air, rail and road. Those visiting will have two options of flying either to Gaya or Patna international airport, both within a radius of 50 km. Besides, the place is well connected with two different rail routes, as well as roads – the Prime Minister Golden Quadrilateral road (earlier known as GT road) near Dobhi.

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It’s All About the Location

The charming Rajgir is also known as Panchpahari as it is surrounded by five holy hills. The lush green forest cover adds to its scenic beauty.

Two rock-cut caves in the region are believed to be the favourite retreats of the Buddha, and it was on this hill that he preached two of his most famous sermons after attaining enlightenment. Legend has it that the ancient city of Rajagriha existed even before Lord Buddha attained enlightenment.

The capital of the great Magadh Empire, Rajagriha was fortified by a stone wall which still exists in parts. It will be a treat for cinematographers to shoot their films in such a lush green environment.

Long Standing Demands for a Film City

Ramoji Film City in Hyderabad. (Photo Courtesy: Hyderabad Tourism)
Ramoji Film City in Hyderabad. (Photo Courtesy: Hyderabad Tourism)

Ever since Nitish took over the reins of Bihar in 2005, actors like Sinha, Manoj Bajpai, Ravi Kishan, Manoj Tiwari and veteran filmmaker Prakash Jha have demanded a film city in Bihar. Sinha even submitted a detailed project report (DPR) in 2007-08 to set up a mega film city, following Ramoji Film City in Hyderabad.

But his proposal could not see the light of the day, despite a friendly chief minister at the helm. Later, Tiwari, a Bhojpuri actor, evinced interest in setting up a film city, as he felt it would generate employment for thousands of artistes who migrate to Mumbai in search of a livelihood.

Besides the Hindi and Bengali film industry, the film city would be a big boon for the Rs 2500 crore Bhojpuri film industry. According to one estimate, nearly 100 Bhojpuri movies release every year. Most of these are shot either in Maharashtra or Gujarat (Kutch, Silvasa, Vapi), or at Ramoji Film City. States like Karnataka, Telangana and Tamil Nadu have their own film cities. Having a film city in Bihar will not only be a major source of revenue generation but also create employment avenues, even for those who belong to hospitality sectors.

(The writer is a Bihar-based journalist)

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