To follow the career of Natarajan Ramji, who likes being known as the “Location Guru” for the Indian film industry from “Bollywood to Tollywood,” it’s best to have an atlas handy.
As chairman of the Chennai, India,-based Travel Masters India firm, he finds exotic locations around the world for film producers across India.
For Mr. Ramji, it all started in Singapore, but not with films. At first in the early 1990s he produced locations for music videos. Switzerland then became a desired location for the MV TV-type productions.
Due to climate change, however, Switzerland’s settings became less reliable and he began exploring locations in New Zealand and elsewhere.
As of now, he’s traveled to more than 110 countries and instead of locations for music videos, he’s into the movies big time, taking care for his clients of all the details for a successful Bollywood film to the extent of even arranging for Indian cooks for the casts.
On May 11, he’ll be flying into Atlanta from Iceland to check out Georgia’s claims as the “Hollywood of the South” and to attend the inaugural Atlanta Indian Film Festival being organized by the Georgia Indo-American Chamber of Commerce.
Lee Thomas, the deputy commissioner of the Georgia, Film, Music and Digital Entertainment Office of Georgia’s Department of Economic Development, is arranging a tour of the Pinewood Studios Atlanta in Fayetteville.
No doubt, Mr. Ramji will be getting an ear full about films ranging all the way back to Gone With the Wind with updates about locations across Georgia for hundreds of feature films, commercials, music videos, along with television movies, series, and specials. And that’s not to mention the tax incentives the state offers.
The film festival to be held at the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Historic Academy of Medicine will feature four films dealing with a wide variety of themes ranging from the ambitions of a nude model in an art school to the adventures of a modern homebuyer in India.
Anita Ninan, the president of the Georgia-Indo American Chamber, told Global Atlanta that the “India Meets Georgia” film festival is the culmination of a GIACC trade mission she led to India two years ago and sustained efforts of the GIACC to promote this opportunity to connect the Indian film industry with Atlanta and Georgia.
During the mission, the delegates visited a number of film and television institutes and met with actors, producers, directors and well-known Bollywood film studios to whom they were introduced by Nagesh Singh, India’s consul general based in Atlanta.
The two-day festival is to open on May 11th with a reception to be attended by Mr. Ramji and visiting Indian film directors, actors and screenwriters including Ravi Jhadav, Raj Shetty, Eisha Marjara and Ravi Kashyap, who will interact with Atlanta city officials, and Atlanta film representatives.
Academicians. including Dr. Jagadish Sheth, Charles H. Kellstardt professor of marketing at the Goizueta Business School at Emory University and Dr. John R. McIntyre, a professor at Georgia Tech, also will be participating.
It is being held in collaboration with the New York Indian Film Festival, the Atlanta Film Festival, the India China and America Institute and the Indian Consulate in Atlanta.