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Cinemas return to Kashmir bringing joy among youth
Srinagar: A multiplex cinema was thrown open to the public in Srinagar on Tuesday which was historic as halls were shut down due to violence for three decades. Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha inaugurated this cinema hall with all modern facilities.
Built by INOX and owned by Vijay Dhar, the multiplex at Shivpora in Srinagar had a seating capacity of 520 persons in its three big auditoriums. The multiplex will have a restaurant and gaming zone for kids in the coming months as these two facilities are being built. Srinagar city had 12 famous cinemas but they were shut down in the 90s when militancy broke out in the Valley which tore its social and peaceful atmosphere. The cinemas were banned by a militant group called 'Allah Tigers' and since then it was curtains down in these cinemas which today are deserted like ghost houses. Today's event is historic for youth who have seen turmoil and violence in the last three decades.
Kashmir and Bollywood have a historic bond which is as old as Bollywood. Life was enhanced by the picturesque beauty of the valley which filmmakers found a perfect shot for filmmaking.
Sinha during the inauguration speech said remanded people of this old bond. He said that late Bollywood actor Shammi Kapoor loved to call himself "Kashmir Ka Kaddoo" and for his love for Kashmir his ashes were immersed in the famous Dal Lake.
Before the 90s many famous Bollywood hits like Kashmir ki Kali, and Bobby was shot in Kashmir which put the audience in awe. Bollywood and cinema became a medium to promote Kashmir's tourism to the outside world. Shah Adnan, a young businessman from Srinagar, said that it is a historic day for him to see a Bollywood movie in a cinema hall in Srinagar.
Shah has watched movies in metros like Delhi, Mumbai and Banglore or OTT platforms. "Kashmir seemed backwards when people outside asked us about the absence of cinema. Youth in Kashmir now have entertainment at their doorstep," he said.
Kashmir's youth was deprived of this major entertainment due to militancy and today's event seems to have brought curtains down to the dark memories of radical groups.
Renowned journalist and host of famous TV news show "Aap ki Adalat" Rajat Sharma who was in Srinagar on a historic day, said that Bollywood actor Salman Khan shared with him in the past that it was his dream to have a cinema in Kashmir.
"I am going to tell my friend Salman Khan that his dream of seeing a cinema in Kashmir that he had shared with me during the shooting of Bhajrangi Bhaijan has come true," Sharma said. Vijay Dhar who owns the cinema said that after the 90s youth have not seen films in the cinema. "Youth of Kashmir had no means of entertainment in cinemas. The cinema will provide them with the experience which they missed during the last 30 years," he said.
The INOX cinema will screen movies for Kashmiris from October 1 and tickets will be available from September 26. "It is exciting to watch films on the big screen. I am happy that we have a multiplex in the city. I along with my friends are energy waiting for October 1 to watch our first film on the screen," said Abbas Khan, a college-going youth who is yet to see what a cinema hall looks like.
LG Manoj Sinha said that such changes have become possible in Kashmir due to the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi who took a historic step on August 5, 2019, to reshape Jammu and Kashmir and end its gloomy past. Sinha said that all districts of Jammu and Kashmir will have 100-seater Cinema halls where youth can entertain themselves. Sinha last week inaugurated two cinema halls in once militancy-hotspots of Shopian and Pulwama in south Kashmir. (ANI)