Nielsen Impact honors Oliver in Mumbai

N.Y. film commissioner in town to strengthen ties with India

MUMBAI -- Katherine Oliver, commissioner of the New York City Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting, praised the similarities between Bollywood and her own film community Tuesday as she received the Nielsen Impact Award from Hollywood Reporter publisher Eric Mika.

"It's great to see the similarities between New York and Mumbai and to be here to further strengthen ties with the Indian film industry," said Oliver, who is meeting with leading producers here to promote New York as a filming destination.

New York's film czar also was here to dish out awards of her own, honoring a pair of local filmmaking icons: Yash Raj Films chairman Yash Chopra and Adlabs Films founder Manmohan Shetty.

Other celebs on hand for the event at the Taj Land's End Hotel included veteran actor-turned-politician Shatrughan Sinha and filmmaker Ramesh Sippy, who is co-producing Warner Bros.' Bollywood debut, "Chandni Chowk to China."

Presenting the Impact Award, Mika, who also serves as vp Nielsen Entertainment Group, said: "The film business is truly a global enterprise and with every passing day, the Indian and international film industries are coming closer."

In recent years, about 10 Indian productions have filmed in New York including 2006 Bollywood hit "Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna" (Never Say Goodbye).

In his acceptance speech, Chopra said that "Ring of Fire" -- produced by his Yash Raj production banner -- is filming in New York, which he called "a great city with amazing locations.

"I am sure more Indian films will head to New York in the near future," he added.

In an interview after the event, Oliver said that her first trip to Mumbai has been "a great learning experience to understand the needs of Indian filmmakers" and to market New York as a filming destination.

"In 2005, we introduced a 35% tax incentive for below-the-line production spending," she said. "Moreover, we offer a one-stop service for all shooting permits in public areas, among other facilities, which should increase the number of Indian productions filming in New York."

The event was hosted by THR, Mumbai-based Enarr Capital and consulting firm Movie Manthan.