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.


‘Melodic Death Metal Band’ Arch Enemy to perform live in the Maldives

Arch Enemy, the world famous ‘melodic Death Metal band’ is scheduled to perform at the first international Death Metal concert in the Maldives.

The band is booked for the third series of RockStorm, organised by CQ, and scheduled for July 23 at Alimas Carnival stage, CQ managing director, Mohamed Rasheed, told Minivan News.

”The show is mainly for younger people, so the price of the tickets would not be higher than MRF200,” said Rasheed. ”Rock Storm is sponsored by Le Cute.”

Rasheed said ticket numbers would be limited. ”The venue has the space for 2-3000 people,” he said. ”We are thinking of extending the place to allow for 5000 people.”

The biggest concern was that this year many scheduled events were cancelled by various organisers, said Rasheed.

”So people might think the same thing will happen to our show,” he said, ”but we have got permission from the government and this is the third year we have held RockStorm.”

Michael Amott, founding member and guitarist of Arch Enemy, commented on the band’s official website: “Just when we thought we’d run out of new territories to play with Arch Enemy… This offer came to us through the good people at Rock Storm in the Maldives… Curious as we are – we obviously grabbed the opportunity to go and do this! We’ll bring the tunes and sunscreen SPF 666!”

So far this year, there have been two international artists who were booked and then failed to perform in the Maldives.

Sri Lankan organisation Platinum Entertainment on March 30 announced that it would host an event presenting world famous R&B singer Akon live in the Maldives at the Outdoor Cricket stadium last April 23.

A few weeks after the Islamic ministry expressed concern about the event, it was cancelled for at least six months, due to technical and security concerns.

Well-known Bollywood star Shakhrukhan was scheduled to perform in the Maldives at another event which was cancelled for similar reasons. It was also reported that the Bollywood star’s performance was cancelled due to poor tickets sales.