Ireland may loose Bollywood film as stars can’t get visas

Ireland could lose its first Bollywood movie because the government won’t issue visas to the Indian members of the production.

The makers of the movie have given the authorities until Tuesday to issue the visas. Now, ‘Unforgettable,’ the first Bollywood movie to be shot in Ireland may be moved to Dubai.

Zarah Shah, the film’s producer, told the Irish Mail on Sunday, that the Department of Justice failed to issue visas to the Indian actors and crew and that the Irish Film Board and Fáilte Ireland said they cannot fix the situation.

‘We don’t know if the visas have been refused, we simply haven’t heard from the Department of Justice,’ she said.

‘We can’t do anything without visas for the actors and there is no movie without them. The department just keeps saying that there is a backlog.”

The visas were issued instantly for the movie’s Dubai-based crew, leading many members of the production to say they fear race may be a factor.

‘We applied for visas for our crew from Dubai at the same time and they were issued without any problems.’

The film, which has already racked up €250,000 in losses was written specifically about Ireland after Miss Shah convinced the director to shoot there rather than Kent, where the film was originally set.

The cast includes Indian star Iqbal Khan, British star Hazel Keech, who appeared in three of the Harry Potter films, and Ireland’s cricketing brothers Niall and Kevin O’Brien, who became heroes in India after beating England in the Cricket World Cup.

‘I can’t understand it,’ said Miss Shah. ‘They send ministers to India begging Bollywood to come to Ireland and the first chance they get, they won’t give people visas and hold everything up.’

A spokesman for the Department of Justice said: ‘We cannot comment on individual cases. Each visa application is considered on its individual merits, with the onus resting with the applicant to satisfy the visa officer as to why the visa should be granted.

‘In assessing an application, a visa officer takes all relevant factors into consideration.’

Given the amount of film crews out of work at present, how can we afford to loose a project like this.


Categories: Film and TV

Tags: , , ,

3 replies

  1. From:
    Subject: Ireland Inc – Open for Business ?
    Date: Tue, 6 Sep 2011 09:32:05 +0000

    Dear Editor,
    I note from the Mail on Sunday, September 4th 2011, that our politians and Public Service are on the verge of closing down Ireland Inc. again.

    A huge Bollywood movie, set to be shot in Ireland, cannot go ahead because of the failure to issue visas to it’s stars. This movie titled Unforgettable, had it’s screenplay specifically written about Ireland, after it’s producer Ms. Zarah Shah convinced it’s directors to shoot the movie in Ireland, rather than in the UK.

    Isn’t it amazing that our politians and our Public Service saw fit to fund millions into the recent visit of both US President Barack Obama and the Queen’s visit to Ireland, as they put it ‘to boost our tourism industry’. However, our same politians and Public Service seem to have their brains in their pants, when the simple opportunity arises to promote our country. Bollywood movie projects such as ‘Unforgettable’ would present a major opportunity to promote Ireland to a massive new audience, within a major new emerging economy such as India.

    Furthermore, Bollywood productions have a fas wider audience within the Indian Ocean, and the Asian population who reside within the UK and America ( the very audience that we need to attract as tourists, students etc ). Mr. Kenny, Mr. Shatter, Mr. Varadkar and your Public Service who are supposed to be representing this country – Hang your heads in shame !

    Later this year, another major Bollywood production titled Ek Tha Tiger is due to be shot in Ireland. This particular film would feature two of Bollywood’s biggest box office stars Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif. However, this movie is also now in doubt as the directors of the movie Unforgettable will have to close up shop and move elsewhere. Ireland open for business ? Whatever happened to the Fine Gael election manifesto ‘Let’s get Ireland Working’ ? What a joke of leadership we have !

    It’s not so long ago that Minister Shatter announced Ireland’s first formal visa waiver programme as part of the job creation initiative. The Minister unveiled a programme to effect change to Ireland’s visa regulations which would encourage tourists visiting Britain for the Olympics next year to travel on to Ireland. Minister Shatter, where is your initiative now, when the opportunity has arisen at your doorstep ?

    The actions of our present administration with respect to this opportunity for Ireland has far reaching negative consequences for our country and it’s potential.

    Yours sincerely,
    Gerard Tobin,
    Shamrock House,
    Co. Cork.

  2. Ireland lose but they do next time very well. Al the best

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