Emin Guliyev on Filming Indian Projects in Azerbaijan [PHOTOS]
Mr. Emin Guliyev is a renowned line producer with an impressive portfolio of 42 international projects in Azerbaijan like "Le Bureau de Legende" TV program Chanel+ (France) 2015, "Junga" full-length (India, France, Azerbaijan) 2017, "Vinaya Videya Rama" full-length (India, Georgia, Turkiye, Azerbaijan) 2018, "Action full-length (India), Turkiye, Azerbaijan) 2019, etc. He has also produced over 60 local commercials and short films. He has worked as the second director of the “Icheri Sheher” film in 2014. He graduated from Baku State University in 2008. In 2013 he studied at the production department of the Rotterdam Film School. He also took courses at the New York Film Academy in Ukraine and a production course in Serbia. Here, he shares his insights on the growing momentum of India-Azerbaijan cooperation in the field of film production.
Q1: Could you elaborate on your role as a line producer?
Emin Guliyev: In the realm of filmmaking, a line producer serves as the head of the production office. This role involves managing the daily operations of film production, including overseeing personnel, addressing production challenges, handling budgets, scheduling, and supervising various physical aspects of the film's creation.
Q2: How did your collaboration with the Indian film industry commence, and how extensive has your involvement been thus far?
Emin Guliyev: The journey with the Indian film industry started in March 2018, specifically with the "Junga" project. Although originally planned for France, the project transitioned to Azerbaijan and Georgia due to cost considerations. This marked the beginning of our collaboration, which has led to the completion of 26 projects, ranging from films to commercials and musical clips, all shot in diverse locations.
Q3: What motivates the Indian film industry to opt for Azerbaijan as a shooting location?
Emin Guliyev: The allure of Azerbaijan for the Indian film industry primarily resides in its stunning landscapes and locations. The visual aesthetics of a film’s setting often overshadow budgetary concerns. Given that India produces a substantial number of films annually, shooting in different international locations adds a unique flair to their projects and piques the curiosity of moviegoers. Azerbaijan presents resemblances to European nations, offering a versatile backdrop for diverse scenarios. Interestingly, we've recreated various foreign settings within Azerbaijan itself. Furthermore, the cost-effectiveness of filming in Azerbaijan sets it apart from other European counterparts, making it an attractive option for filmmakers. Also, Presently, Azerbaijan stands out as the most economically viable European country for filming endeavors.
Q4: How does the film industry's influence extend beyond filmmaking itself?
Emin Guliyev: The impact of the film industry is more far-reaching than one might assume. Beyond the creation of films, it generates revenue streams for hotels, catering, and transportation companies. Additionally, it stimulates ticket and visa sales, employs local support staff, and indirectly promotes tourism through the exposure of captivating locations on-screen.
Q5: Can you elaborate on the cultural similarities that foster successful collaborations between India and Azerbaijan?
Emin Guliyev: The resonance between Indian and Azerbaijani cultures is notable in various aspects, such as temperament, character, musical inclinations, family values, and work ethics. This inherent alignment facilitates smoother interactions and collaborations between the two film industries.
Q6: Could you discuss the significance of trust in cross-country film production, particularly in your interactions with Indian producers?
Emin Guliyev: Trust forms the cornerstone of successful cross-country collaborations, especially when dealing with Indian producers. Unlike some European counterparts, for Indian producers, personal relationships and gestures hold immense importance. How you receive and bid farewell to them, as well as your willingness to go beyond the required efforts, profoundly impact their perception.
Q7: What measures can be taken to further facilitate the growth of Indian projects in Azerbaijan?
Emin Guliyev: The Azerbaijani Government has initiated pivotal steps, including a streamlined visa process and direct flight connections. Building in-person connections through trips, meetings, and participation in film festivals within India is crucial for fostering trust. These interactions hold the potential to attract more Indian projects to Azerbaijan, benefiting both industries. My gratitude extends to the Indian film industry, as their projects not only enrich me but also contribute to Azerbaijan’s film sector, offering invaluable experiences and learning opportunities.
Q8. The Embassy of India in Azerbaijan has recently held an event titled “Bollywood meets Baku” which featured your presentation about Indian and Azerbaijan film cooperation. Can you elaborate on it?
Emin Guliyev: Yes, the Embassy of India organized an event titled 'Bollywood Meets Baku: A Talk on India - Azerbaijan Film Cooperation, on July 7, 2023.
The special event witnessed the presence of a distinguished ensemble of guests. H.E. Vice Minister Mr. Sanjay Verma, Ambassador Mr. Sridharan Madhusudhanan, Mr. Matin Mirza from the Azerbaijan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, actor and TV host Mr. Shahriyar Abhilov, Mr. Elman Mammadov from the Azerbaijan Tourism Board, and Mr. Dadash Mammadov of the Art Council Azerbaijan were among the esteemed attendees. Also in attendance were Mr. Jai Dalwani, the President of the Indian Association Azerbaijan, the Association's Vice President, Ms. Binu Jacob, and other distinguished guests from India, Azerbaijan, and other countries.
I interlaced my presentation with engaging visual illustrations, underscoring the robust influence of the Indian film industry and the growing fascination of Indian filmmakers with Azerbaijan. The gathering marked not just an event but a significant step towards a deeper understanding and collaboration between the cinematic landscapes of India and Azerbaijan.
The event also marked promising future alliances between our vibrant film industries of India and Azerbaijan.
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