Natarajan Ramji, director, who organizes filming abroad for Tamil, Telugu and Hindi films, says: “For Indian filmmakers, Ukraine was the most suitable place in Europe from a financial point of view and also in terms of production, with a good local team and actors. The locations there can be associated with the settings of other places, like Paris, London, the United States and even some Indian places. The people were also friendly. While January to April is the peak of winter there, we had planned some shoots starting in May. Ramji also participated in the filming of an untitled Tamil film starring Saravanan Arul and Urvashi Rautela, which was filmed in Ukraine in December. He was also in Kiev the first week of February this year to arrange filming permits for an upcoming film. “Obviously that won’t be considered a likely location for some time now,” he says.
Satish Sharma, director of Indo-Soviet Films which coordinates filming in Ukraine, says: “Almost ten years ago, I coordinated the filming of a Raja Vaska series in Ukraine, India and Russia. Since then, we have carried out many projects in Ukraine. In fact, my next Marshall project, directed by Ganesh Acharya, was supposed to be shot in Ukraine in May. We had planned to shoot in summer and winter, but now that doesn’t seem possible. My last project in Ukraine was Special Ops by Neeraj Pandey. We also planned to shoot Shivaay in Ukraine, but at that time too there was news of some unrest, so we changed the location to Bulgaria. A number of southern film songs were shot in Kyiv, Lviv and the Carpathian Mountains »
Satish adds that Ukraine was becoming a popular location among Indian filmmakers when COVID hit. “My partner in Ukraine was planning to hold an event in India in January to promote Ukrainian film locations, but because of Omicron he couldn’t come. My Ukrainian friends showed me the situation in video calls and sent me videos of where they are hiding. It doesn’t look like we’ll be able to tour the country anytime soon,” he says.