Bollywood film island “just a concept”: Thoyyib

Reports that Bollywood has been invited to establish a film studio in the Maldives were erroneous, according to Minister of State for Tourism Arts and Culture Thoyyib Waheed, “as the idea is just a concept.”

Newspaper Miadhu reported Thoyyib as claiming during a press conference that the Maldives had “already proposed that one of the islands could be turned into a studio to shoot movies”, and that Bollywood industry could be solicited in the Maldives – “hopefully, it will materialise by next year.”

The prolific Mumbai-based Hindi-film studios eclipse Hollywood in terms of box-office receipts, churning out productions with budgets of up to US$20 million. The films are a strong cultural influence in the Maldives and visiting film stars like Salman Khan are given state receptions.

Speaking to Minivan News today, Thoyyib said he was referring to a call for expressions of interest (EOI) by Invest Maldives and the 100 percent government-owned Maldives Entertainment Company (MEC) in February, to develop the country’s entertainment infrastructure.

“It was a development concept – 6-7 parties put forward proposals but none were successful,” Thoyyib said.

According to the EOI statement, proposals sought by the government included entertainment complexes, “a theme park/amusement island”, multiplex cinema complexes, musical facilities and “a film-friendly island, dedicated to film shoots providing resources, state of the art equipment, resort style accommodation and other amenities for production teams, cast and crews producing feature films, documentaries, telemovies, mini-series, TV series, commercials, and music videos.”

The EOI statement predicted that “this new concept in full spectrum shoots will have strong appeal to Hollywood, Bollywood and beyond.”

Thoyyib commented that if a collaboration with Bollywood was achieved, the currently fledgling Indian sector of the Maldives tourism market “will definitely increase.”

Despite the proximity of the Maldives, Bollywood producers were shooting in Mauritius and the Seychelles “because we just don’t have the infrastructure in Maldives. We would need to provide an island with both low budget accommodation for the crew and upmarket accommodation blocks or villas [for the stars].”

No island had yet been earmarked for such an endeavor, he said.


8 thoughts on “Bollywood film island “just a concept”: Thoyyib”

  1. What the hell is this man Thoyyib babbling about?

    Did he wake up from a wild dream owning Thoyyib Studios in Maldives and ran to a press conference to tell it as if it would impress the public?

    Or did he actually say there was a call for expression of interest for an entertainment complex including a studio?

    And did he say 6-7 parties expressed interest and none were successful?

    And did he then say no island is earmarked for that and its just a concept...?

    Wow, what a dunce!

  2. Catering to Bollywood producers seem to be the target of Minister Thoyyib. Has this got anything to do with 'developing the country's entertainment structure'?

    Perhaps Minister Thoyyib is a visionary and the rest of us just don't get it!

    With all due respect for the minister's 'idea', allow me to reflect a bit here...At a time when Maldivians of all ages are complaining of the lack of entertainment available in the islands for natives, Minister Thoyyib is more interested in building studios for Indian movie makers. One can argue, that this minister has no clue about what he is uttering in public or the status of the local entertainment industry, either!

    I'm afraid this is bad press again for this government, when it is struggling to establish its credibility in relation to media management/development! And, all because of a state minister's reckless rhetoric, some would say.

    I would like to remind the honourable state minister to make his policy statements in a more coherent way. This will not only help him get good press, it may also make the government's job easier.

    btw dreaming is great!

  3. This government is selling this country to India. With the current selling speed, Anni would be hosting the Indian flag in Muliaage before the end of Ramazan.

  4. No way this can be allowed.
    Music, movies, dancing way.
    Ban the movies business. This is tempting and leading a lot astray.
    Maldives must be 100$ muslim.
    If Thoyyib thinks he can bring in bollywood here, he is seriously mistaken.

    REstrict any form of entertainment and keep to the goat herd business in maldives.

  5. Hold your horses people. Its not happening. Read the article properly. It was just a concept/an idea. Nothing was finalised or approved. There's no need to get on your 'they're selling the country to the Indians' hissy fit on this one.

  6. great news!!!...but maldives likes hollywood more than bollywood ? just look at the birds-nest hair style of the youth and dangling chains on the neck and dark bob marley t shirts to confirm it.forgot the cigarette style and red-bull drinks.
    lets become islamic. all men should compulsorily grow beard and all women wear hijab or burqa. bring the law in constitution of maldives. no bollywood or hollywood. only islam and quran

  7. @rasheeda

    Allah will shower His blessings in this Ramazan on you for your defense of our beloved religion and our beloved Prophet Muhammad. You are a true sister of Islam following the footsteps of Khadijah and Aisha. Are you the oldest wife of your husband or the youngest wife?

  8. An idea and a concept to attract more Indian tourists to Maldives? sounds like it was more a stunt rather than a real project that will make sense and make money for itself. honestly why do we believe that in order to attract indian filmakers shooting in our Islands we have to provide them with a full studio island? even if want to do, is there a big market / demand? Let's do a quick research: how many bollywood films have been shot in the Maldives so far? the answer is 12. Why did they choose our islands? Because Maldives is a popular place for underwater/serenity/romance. How many moves have been shot in Seychelles and Mauritius.? Do they have island studios to attract Indian fil makers? NO. India is a big market for Mauritius / Seychelles but in the mid-market range. The bollywood stars normally get freebies measured on their fame - even in some hotels in Maldives. Those movies shot in Mauritius or Seychelles are hosted mostly on free basis in exchange for tourism promotion by the Govt, and not necessarily paying huge amounts to go and shoot a movie there. Maldives tourism product needs serious re-thinking while our top heads start to get confused.


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