Poonam Singh

Amid the escalating tensions between India and Maldives due to derogatory remarks against Prime Minister Modi, the Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE), the largest body representing cine employees in India, has called upon all film and television producers to cancel their shoots in the island nation and explore alternatives within India. This appeal could have significant repercussions for Indian film shoots in the Maldives.

The FWICE, led by President BN Tiwari and Chief Advisor Ashoke Pandit, issued a statement on Wednesday condemning the disparaging statements made by three Maldivian ministers against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In response to the diplomatic row, FWICE expressed solidarity with the nation and its culture, urging its members to boycott Maldives as a shooting location.

The statement read, "In view of the growing row between India and Maldives over the derogatory statement issued by three ministers of Maldives... the members of the FWICE have decided to boycott Maldives for their shooting locations."

The FWICE went on to suggest that producers seek alternatives within India to boost domestic tourism, stating, "Instead, the FWICE appeals its members to choose similar locations in India for their shooting purpose and contribute towards developing tourism in India."

The diplomatic row began after Maldivian ministers made derogatory remarks about PM Modi and Lakshadweep in response to his efforts to promote the archipelago as a tourist destination. This led to the hashtag 'boycott Maldives' trending on social media. The Maldivian government distanced itself from the comments. Still, the damage was done, with public figures, including Bollywood and regional actors, expressing support for PM Modi and condemning the Maldivian ministers.

Maldives holds significance for Bollywood, serving as a preferred shooting location for decades. Major projects like ‘Ek Villain,’ ‘Ram Setu,’ ‘Fight Club,’ and ‘Maine Pyaar Kyun Kiya’ have been filmed there. Additionally, it has become a favoured holiday destination for Bollywood celebrities, especially during the pandemic.