KASHMIR GETS ITS FIRST MULTIPLEX IN SRINAGAR AFTER 3 DECADES

VINOD CHANDRASHEKHAR DIXIT
Kudos to Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha for inaugurating the Kashmir valleys the first multiplex in Sonawar area after the three-decade wait of the movie buffs to watch their favourite stars on a big screen. He has rightly pointed out that Culture is a way of life and cinema being the powerful medium of sharing thoughts and ideas reflects societal values and change. Cinema brings people together. Apart from entertainment, it gives hopes, dreams and inspiration to youth to pursue their dreams till they realise it.”The trend of shooting movies in Jammu and Kashmir con- tinued well into the 1970’s and 1980’s too, with its splendid location and locales continuing to cast their magic spell on the audiences. Several movies have been shot in this beauti- ful region blessed with magnificent scenic splendour, with film tourism in Jammu and Kashmir remaining as popular as ever. Several scenes from
another famous movie in 1973, Bobby, was shot in a hut, with the result it was renamed Bobby Hut.Kashmir has always been a high- ly sought after film location in India, and has always attracted film makers, producers, directors and actors.
A big applause to Vijay Dhar who is the son of illustrious Kashmiri politician late D.P.Dhar who remained pivotal to power equations in Jammu and Kashmir because of his proximity to both late Prime Ministers — Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi. The valley had seen nearly a dozen standalone cine- ma halls functioning till the late 1980s, but they had to wind up busi- nesses after two militant outfits threatened the owners.The Farooq Abdullah-led government in 1996 made efforts to reopen two cinema halls, Broadway and Neelam, but they failed to survive due to poor patronage. Kashmir has been receiv- ing good response from film makers since the opening of tourism here in addition to the regional entertainment houses for shooting song sequences and commercial advertisements.”Vikas Dhar has rightly saidthat “A lot of world cine- ma is bereft of good stories. We have phenomenal stories to tell from Kashmir. This should inspire youth to tell their own stories.
Kashmir has had a special connec- tion with the cinema world, shooting of movies in picturesque background of Kashmir. Some of the most roman- tic and evergreen songs were pictur-
ized in the snow-clad hills and lush green locales of Jammu and Kashmir.
In 1961, Shammi Kapoor romanced Saira Banu in the snow-capped mountains in Srinagar as he sang “Chahe koi Mujhe junglee kahe”. He immortalized the ‘Shikara’ on the Dal Lake in the song “Tareef Karun kya uski” as he wooed a beautiful Sharmila Tagore in Kashmir Ki Kali (1964). Filmmakers, mainly from Bollywood and Tollywood, are mak- ing a beeline for shooting in the sce- nic splendour of locales of Jammu and Kashmir especially after the recent launch of the Union Territory’s maiden film policy by Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha. Top cine- matographer and filmmaker, Ravi Varman, who had shot in Kashmir for the film Kaattru Veliyidai said that “Kashmir is one of the most beautiful places in our country. Kashmiris are very friendly and they are like south Indians a lot.”
There is no doubt that the initia- tive taken by government will bring back the lost glory of the valley through benefits to the local artists, including dancers, fashion designers, actors, choreographers, cinematogra- phers, sound recordists, set designers and others.Jammu and Kashmir was the most preferred among the other film tourism destinations in the past few decades, and even today, contin- ues to remain a favourite, attracting filmmakers from all over India and across the globe.
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