It’s showtime in Kashmir once again… after 32 years | India News

SRINAGAR: Cinema halls have made a comeback in Kashmir after they died out in the decades of separatist terrorism. J&K lieutenant governor Manoj Sinha inaugurated a multipurpose theatre each in the south Kashmir districts of Shopian and Pulwama on Sunday, while Srinagar’s first multiplex will open on Tuesday with Aamir Khan’s latest release ‘Laal Singh Chaddha’.
“Cinema is a powerful creative medium which reflects the culture, values and aspirations of the people. It opens the door to the world of knowledge, new discoveries and enables people to get a better understanding of each other’s culture,” Sinha said in Pulwama.Calling it a “historic day”, he said the movie theatres will help generate much-needed income for locals and the government has plans to open at least one in each district.
J&K has a long association with cinema, he said, and the Union territory’s new film policy and facilities have once again made the region a favourite shooting destination.
Kashmir’s long and rich cinematic history went dark 32 years ago when sweeping diktats from terrorists and fundamentalists shut down cinemas and banned movies, calling any such audio-visual entertainment “haram”—or against the tenets of Islam. Students, youth and people from all walks of life gathered at Drussu Pulwama and MC Shopian—two terrorism-plagued districts—to witness the opening of movie theatres, which was seen as an attempt to restore a stolen part of the Valley’s legacy.
The idea is to give the young the entertainment their peers enjoy outside Kashmir, said Vijay Dhar, senior member of the family that built the multiplex in Srinagar, the city’s first.
“It’s a three-screen multiplex designed by INOX. It can seat at least 520 patrons, and will have the most advanced Dolby sound system, food courts selling local fare, and other entertainment options,” said Vikas Dhar, his son.
This is a far cry from that fateful day when 19 cinemas in Srinagar, Anantnag, Baramulla, Sopore, Handwara and Kupwara wound down “by order” from the banned JKLF and Hizbul Mujahedeen terrorists on January 1, 1990. Attempts were made before to revive cinemas in Kashmir—a picture-postcard place that has been a muse of filmmakers for long.

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