Multiplexes Fuel New Film Culture at Naya Kashmir

J&K Administration Takes Bollywood on Silver Screen in the Valley, Its Most Beautiful Shoot Location … A special report by Usman Khan. The government of Jammu and Kashmir in its new films policy aims to give the multiplexes various incentives under the provisions of J&K Industrial Policy 2021. It also aims to reopen closed cinema halls in the Union Territory

September 20 marks a special day with the inauguration of the Inox multiplex theatre in Sri Nagar by Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha. A new Bollywood movie Lal Singh Chaddha was screened in the multiplex as part of the opening ceremony. This is evidence of the gradual return of peace and normalcy and sweeping changes and improvement in the region, that the LG of the UT has inaugurated two Cinema halls in South Kashmir’s Shopian and Pulwama districts.  The J&K administration plans to have Cinema halls in all the 10 districts of the valley.

As per the schedule, the first show of a film in about two and a half decades in the valley has been scheduled on October 1 with the screening of two epic movies Vikram Vedha and Ponniyin Selvan (PS)-1, at the new INOX theatre.  The preparations are on and a dry run screening in the orange-ambience theatre has been completed. Now as the inauguration of the multiplex, featuring three screens with a total seating capacity of 522 has been done, ticket sales would start on September 26.

As peace returns in the valley, the people of Kashmir are seeking more outlets for cultural events and wholesome family entertainment. After about 23 years of life without cinema, now the people in the valley would again get opportunities to watch movies.

How the youth in Kashmir did not have an opportunity to watch films during the past years could be known from the revelation of Chairperson, Delhi Public School (DPS) Shri Nagar “Half the students from the DPS have never been to a cinema hall.”

Showing movies on a bigger screen in the valley after 35 years will be a dream comes true for many film lovers. Although, Farooq Abdulla-led government made efforts in 1996 to reopen two Cinema halls, Broadway and Neelam, they failed to survive due to poor patronage. In 1999 Regal Cinema in Lal Chowk stopped a screening of Pyar Koyi Khel Nahi after militants hurled a grenade in the first week of its opening. However, the talks are abuzz that this time around, the UT administration and even Vikas Dhar, Managing Director of Taksal Hospitality Private Limited, which owns the Inox multiplex are determined to continue screening without initially giving any consideration to how much time the viewers take to flock again to sustain houseful viewing and screening so that the revenue model achieves break even. While inviting the students to “come and enjoy” the films on the silver screen, he stated that Bollywood’s relationship with Kashmir goes back to the 1950s.

In this sense, the inauguration of multi-purpose Cinema Halls at Pulwama on September 23 and Shopian would be remembered as a historic day. It offers facilities ranging from a movie screening, infotainment and skilling of youth.

Cinema halls and multiplexes have their own eco-system that offers a variety of business and employment opportunities and make the region thriving and lively with activities. The valley which offered its lush green and naturally aesthetic shooting locations to many great and super-hit Bollywood films would now have an opportunity to see the beauty of its own land on the silver screen. It would not only entertain the youth but also inspire many of them to become actors, producers and directors and screenplay writers. Kashmir has immense potential to throw such artists and as the eco-system draws the interest of the youth, this process might gather momentum.

This is the result of J&K administration’s keen interest to revive the screening of films in the valley where multiplexes have come into existence. In August 2021, the Jammu and Kashmir government unveiled its first-ever film policy months after the J&K film policy, the J&K Film Development Council (JKFDC) was set up to attract Bollywood. One of the main aims of the policy is to reopen closed cinemas and set up multiplexes in the Valley.

The government of Jammu and Kashmir in its new films policy aims to give the multiplexes various incentives under the provisions of J&K Industrial Policy 2021. It also aims to reopen closed cinema halls in the Union Territory.

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