Ireland could lose its first Bollywood movie because the government won't issue visas to the Indian members of the production.
The makers of the movie have given the authorities until Tuesday to issue the visas. Now, 'Unforgettable,' the first Bollywood movie to be shot in Ireland may be moved to Dubai.
Zarah Shah, the film's producer, told the Irish Mail on Sunday, that the Department of Justice failed to issue visas to the Indian actors and crew and that the Irish Film Board and Fáilte Ireland said they cannot fix the situation.
‘We don’t know if the visas have been refused, we simply haven’t heard from the Department of Justice,’ she said.
‘We can’t do anything without visas for the actors and there is no movie without them. The department just keeps saying that there is a backlog."
The visas were issued instantly for the movie's Dubai-based crew, leading many members of the production to say they fear race may be a factor.
‘We applied for visas for our crew from Dubai at the same time and they were issued without any problems.’
The film, which has already racked up €250,000 in losses was written specifically about Ireland after Miss Shah convinced the director to shoot there rather than Kent, where the film was originally set.
The cast includes Indian star Iqbal Khan, British star Hazel Keech, who appeared in three of the Harry Potter films, and Ireland’s cricketing brothers Niall and Kevin O’Brien, who became heroes in India after beating England in the Cricket World Cup.
'I can’t understand it,’ said Miss Shah. ‘They send ministers to India begging Bollywood to come to Ireland and the first chance they get, they won’t give people visas and hold everything up.’
A spokesman for the Department of Justice said: ‘We cannot comment on individual cases. Each visa application is considered on its individual merits, with the onus resting with the applicant to satisfy the visa officer as to why the visa should be granted.
‘In assessing an application, a visa officer takes all relevant factors into consideration.’