Popular Bollywood film producer, Rakesh Sabharwal, arrived on the island yesterday afternoon to explore the possibility of shooting movies here.
Acting Minister of Tourism and International Transport, Kirk Humphrey, as well as Barbados’ Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of Barbados to the United Nations Office and other international organisations in Geneva, Ambassador Chad Blackman, were on hand at the Grantley Adams International Airport to welcome Mr. Sabharwal and his team to Barbados.
Minister Humphrey expressed to the well-known and distinguished Bollywood producer: “We are very excited about the possibilities that we can have in relation to the potential for Barbados to be a hub, in relation to movies from Bollywood being made here, being produced here, and what we offer – the beauty of the country and the exponential increase in tourism, and certainly the potential for investment from across the world.”
Ambassador Blackman pointed out that Mr. Sabharwal’s arrival in Barbados is phase one, coming out of talks held six months ago in Geneva, where Mr. Sabharwal expressed an interest in working with Barbados.
“The Bollywood sector in its entirety is constantly looking for new jurisdictions and destinations that would lend to their profiling and their film industry…. The prospect of business investment, trading goods and services is also a possibility between India and Barbados,” Ambassador Blackman explained.
He added that Barbados was open for international business and with its rich culture, music and beautiful scenery, would make for a lovely destination for filming not only for Bollywood, but also for Netlfix and other international film agencies.
Mr. Sabharwal, who has over 40 years in the film industry, pointed out that after doing a lot of internet research, he believed that Barbados was an ideal place where Bollywood films could be produced and this trip was a physical exploration of the island.
He went on to explain the employment and investment opportunities to be gained by Barbados. “When we do Bollywood, we need faces of Bollywood and Barbados is having an Indian population of 3,000 people, which is great; we can choose from them also. But apart from that definitely a lot of labour work which is needed for camera, lights, equipment carrying, transportation [ and] food, … all these things will be provided locally,” Mr. Sabharwal said.
Also present to welcome the Bollywood film producer were Permanent Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office, Alies Jordan; Permanent Secretary with responsibility for Culture, Jehu Wiltshire; Senator John King; Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc.’s Director for Marketing, Robert Chase, and Export Barbados (BIDC) Director, Mark Hill.
Mr. Sabharwal and his team will be on the island for a week. He thanked Ambassador Blackman and Barbados for the warm welcome received. Bollywood produces 1,200 films a year in 28 languages and the movies are viewed in 85 countries around the world.