As a result of meetings held in Cannes last week, the Indian Ministry of Information and Broadcasting is considering relaxing the rules for international companies planning to shoot films in India.

Senior government officials met several filmmakers who showed interest in shooting in India but were put off by the red tape involved. Among the rules that are likely to be changed are script clearance conditions, visa requirements for international crews, presence of a government Liaison officer on the set as well as other time-consuming and restrictive obstacles faced by filmmakers.

Filmmaker Jean-Jacques Annaud, had set his location hopes on India for his film Seven Years In Tibet, but the government dawdled endlessly and the film was finally shot in Argentina, Chile, England, Austria and British Columbia.

Meanwhile, India's oldest business conglomerate, the 100 year-old Tata Group, is to launch into film production. Traditionally known for its involvement in commercial vehicles and steel-making, the group is to invest $22m into producing three to four mainstream Hindi films every year, with its first $2m production expected to be announced in August.

Meanwhile, Sahara Television, a branch of another Indian company, the Sahara Group is to finance 40 Hindi films as part of a $ 20m mega-series project, which will be premiered on its television channel on weekdays in a one-hour serial format before finally being released theatrically.

Well-known film-makers like Shyam Benegal, Tanuja Chandra, Govind Nihalani and many actresses-turned-directors like Manisha Koirala, Raveena Tandon, Farida Jalal are likely to be working in this project.

Zee Telefilms, which produced the highest-grossing title of 2000, Gadar, the Hindi Film has also announced plans to produce 15 features a year. Zee will be investing $1m - $3m per film in a combination of five medium-budget and eight to10 small budget films per annum.