Imtiaz Ali honoured by the Portuguese Government with a Medal of Merit for “Jab Harry Met Sejal”
Bollywood director Imtiaz Ali was distinguished recntly with the Portuguese Touristic Medal of Merit. The medal and diploma were awarded by the minister of economy, Pedro Siza Vieira, and the secretary of state for tourism, Ana Mendes Godinho. Imtiaz Ali shot the movie Jab Harry Met Sejal in Lisbon, Sintra and Cascais and was awarded this medal for choosing Portugal to film his movies and promoting Portugal overseas through his Bollywood lenses.
The Indian ambassador to Portugal, K Nandini Singla, was also present, along with other members of the Indian community living in Portugal.
The movie Jab Harry Met Sejal, which premiered in August 2017, was shot in its main part in Portugal and its main roles are performed by two of India’s most famous stars – Shah Rukh Khan and Anushka Sharma.
After receiving his medal, Imtiaz Ali stated that the conditions to shoot in Portugal are exceptional. According to Imtiaz, “Portugal is a special place, full of beauty and character. It’s been a privilege visiting here, getting to shoot with these wonderful people. I feel immense gratitude for this medal to the ministries of Economy and Tourism and Cinemate, for the warmth and the recognition. Can’t wait to come back to work here – I feel I have seen only the tip of the iceberg, Portugal has many hidden treasures. Muito Obrigado”.
In the past few years, more than ten Bollywood movies were shot in Portugal. In August and October, two Bollywood movies shot in Portugal will premiere in India. Cuca Roseta, who sings “Yaadon Mein” with Mohammed Irfan and Jonita Gandhi in the movie, was also present during the ceremony and sang three songs in Portuguese and Hindi.
After having shot Jab Harry Met Sejal in Portugal, Imtiaz Ali inspired several other Bollywood directors to shoot their movies in Portugal.
Godinho said, “This is a public recognition from the Portuguese Government of Imtiaz Ali’s role in connecting Portugal and India more and more and in promoting Portugal as a great destination for making movies and, particularly, Bollywood movies. We have a new cash rebate system of 30 per cent, great locations and great light all year round”.
Portugal is positioning itself as a prime location for international filming. Last year, the government approved the new Cinema Incentive Fund, which instituted a new cash rebate incentive of up to 30% to international productions filming in Portugal. Recently, the government also created Portugal Film Commission, a one stop shop to facilitate and promote Portugal as a major international film destination.