Tanvi Gandhi
Line Producer of Queen, Shandaar, Mausam

I see the basis for any film as the script, and for Queen, the script was based in Europe. Queen is about a girl in Delhi who goes overseas. Paris was written into the script. Paris was part of the original selection, and we also scouted Prague for its visual vibe with the local line producers. The budgets were taken from both Prague and Amsterdam; once these budgets were compared, the decision was made to go with Amsterdam. Amsterdam is an open city; it is like any European city, and the canals appeared attractive.

Certain places in Europe have rebates, and some don’t. If the territory is not specific but the idea of being overseas is, then Eastern Europe is the cheapest destination. With scale and big stars, there can be an inevitable shift towards Western Europe rather than Georgia or Romania. Tourism boards and film commissions play an important role in these transactions.

Shooting was planned for 10 days in Paris and 10 days in Amsterdam. Finally, the shooting days were extended to Amsterdam because it was cheaper there. The Paris shoot took only 5 days for the exteriors, which included a lot of walking and wandering. The interiors were done in Amsterdam.
We used Airbnb, which had just started at that time, and found a place in Volendam, 20 kilometres from Amsterdam. This proved cheaper than a hotel. The monitoring of budgets is always required, along with the selection of attractive locations.

Queen was a small film, so it was designed to ensure a large crowd did not travel—the costume designer and wardrobe supervisor came from India. The European part of the film did not require design since the narrative was constantly on the move. Usually, after the location is selected, we require set props (Namrata Parikh). The prop team was from Europe since it was easier for them to know how to procure objects specific to the film.

At the initial stage, no money is exchanged, only the script. Line producers are selected on the basis of recommendations. Then budgets are shared. After location scouting with line producers, the contract is signed between the line producer and the Executive Producers. Line producers are responsible for everything—they represent the country, handle the film, and deal with local municipal concerns. All the monetary transactions are in white, so there is an incredible amount of paperwork. The procurement of business visas is also worked out with the line producers. Food requirements are always an issue that needs some planning. The executive producer’s job includes managing people and ensuring synergies for both big and small films. They must maintain a balance between business and story, working with notions of mass and class.

Through an organisation called Jet Films, we got a crew at cheaper rates in Paris. (Jim Demoure, Tine Demoure)

For Shaandar, the script had a destination wedding, but the place was not specified. It was finally shot in the U.K.’s Yorkshire region, with its castles and waterfalls, and the interiors were done inside castles in Poland. The Polish interiors were useful because they were ostentatious. Initially, Germany was also explored as a possible location, but it was cheaper to manage the U.K. and Poland. ( The Polish interiors had gold on the walls. So, the Polish interiors stood for the U.K. 80% of the film was shot in the U.K. and 20% in Poland and India. We collaborated with Film Polska ( They handle Romania, Georgia, and Poland.

The biggest difference between a small and a big film is that the main drive for the small film is content, passion, awareness of budget constraints, a collective understanding, clarity of purpose, and the requirement of support staff. The big film can afford to go over budget since the production is equipped with cushioning space. The stars define the space for the big films; the attitude is different. The crew for Queen was 20. The large Yashraj crews can number up to 150 people.

The difference between a Hollywood team and an Indian team, according to the line producers, is primarily in relation to the script. The Indians can be all over the place, less disciplined, and have no sense of time. In Europe, the unions are very particular about working hours, taking one-hour lunch breaks.

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