Rajat Sharma Blog: How Kashmir Valley got its first multiplex after 32 years | How Kashmir Valley got its first multiplex after 32 years

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 Rajat Sharma Blog: How Kashmir Valley got its first multiplex after 32 years |  How Kashmir Valley got its first multiplex after 32 years


Image Source : India TV
India TV Chairman and Editor-in-Chief Rajat Sharma.

After 32 years in the Kashmir Valley, the first multiplex opened in Srinagar on Tuesday. It was inaugurated by the Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, Manoj Sinha. This is a clear indication of the major changes that have taken place in the Valley in recent years. I got a chance to attend this function. With my own eyes, I felt the change in the mindset of the Kashmiri youth. In the last three decades, at least three generations of Kashmiri youth did not get a chance to watch films in the cinema halls of the Valley. In 1990, jihadi terrorists forced the closure of all cinema halls in the Valley by showing fear of guns.

Let alone metropolitan cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata or Chennai, Tier-II cities like Moradabad, Saharanpur, Bathinda, Rohtak, Bhiwani and Bharuch also have multiplexes nowadays. The opening of the first multiplex on Tuesday was a dream come true for the people of Srinagar. It is difficult to put into words the joy I saw on the faces of Kashmiri youths waiting in line to buy tickets.

Just imagine, Salman Khan’s 1989 superhit film ‘Maine Pyaar Kiya’ never hit the theaters in Kashmir. In 2014, when Salman Khan went to Kashmir for the shooting of ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’, a crowd of youths thronged to see him shooting, but the same youth could not watch his film in the valley. I was with Salman for three days during the shooting of the film in Pahalgam. Salman’s words still resonate in my ears. At that time he told me, ‘Think, there is not a single theater in Kashmir to see the film in which so many Kashmiris are working. What can be more sad than this.

Kashmiris will no longer have to travel to Jammu to watch ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’ or Shah Rukh’s ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’. Interestingly, the INOX multiplex in Srinagar is owned by a reputed Kashmiri Pandit businessman Vijay Dhar. I have known Vijay Dhar for the last 40 years. He was once an advisor to former PM Rajiv Gandhi. Vijay Dhar’s father DP Dhar was a senior advisor to former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Vijay Dhar has done a lot of work in the field of education in Kashmir Valley.

Kashmir and ‘Kashmiriyat’ are at the top of Vijay Dhar’s heart. Vijay Dhar told me that he didn’t build multiplexes for profit or loss, for business. He said, ‘I want to see Kashmir turning into a paradise again. I remember the day my theater was closed in 1990. Sunny Deol’s ‘Yateem’ film was engaged. Terrorism made Kashmir an orphan. Now Kashmir has to be repopulated, the debt of our native land has to be paid.

This multiplex in Shivpora, a high security zone near Badami Bagh Cantonment, took 5 years to complete. It has a seating capacity of 520 people and all the three movie theaters are equipped with hi-tech sound system and state-of-the-art technology. The multiplex also has a food court. Inaugurating the multiplex, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha said, “This is the place where once upon a time there used to be Broadway cinema, where the first screening of Shammi Kapoor’s film ‘Jaanwar’ took place. The shooting of the film was also done around Dal Lake. I am glad that cinema lovers are back here again today.

India TV reporter Manzoor Mir spoke to the local youth who had come to watch the film at the multiplex. These young people, who had been deprived of the cinema hall for the last three decades, were looking happy. Many of them said that they used to go to Jammu to watch movies. At the same time, some said that the reopening of cinema halls will create new employment opportunities. Aamir Khan’s film ‘Lal Singh Chaddha’ was screened on Tuesday. Cinema lovers can watch Hrithik Roshan and Saif Ali Khan starrer Vikram Vedha from 30 September. Like the rest of the country, this multiplex too will have First Day, First Show on September 30.

Before 1990, there were only 15 cinema halls in the Kashmir Valley, of which 9 were in Srinagar and 6 in other districts. Srinagar had cinema halls like Broadway, Regal, Neelam, Firdous, Shiraz, Khayyam, Naaz, and Shah. In 1989, when Pakistan-backed terrorism started in the Kashmir Valley, a terrorist organization named ‘Allah Tigers’ called cinema as un-Islamic and threatened to close the cinema hall or face the consequences. All theaters in the Valley were closed with effect from January 1, 1990.

In 1999, three cinema halls Regal, Neelam and Broadway were opened in Srinagar, but terrorists attacked during the very first show in Regal, killing one person and injuring 12. The Regal Cinema Hall was closed after the attack, and the Broadway and Sapphire Theaters were also closed due to fear. Many cinema halls were turned into security forces camps while some cinema halls opened up hotels and hospitals.

Multiplex is not just a place to watch movies, it is a sign of people living a free life, a medium to connect with the world. Apart from entertainment, multiplexes are also a source of employment for the people. I remember the words Salman Khan said during the shooting of ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’. At that time Salman told me, ‘The valleys of Kashmir are more beautiful than Switzerland. It’s fun shooting here. Just if the government provides some facilities like better internet connectivity, good hotels and better vehicles, then no one can stop Kashmir from becoming the best shooting destination in the world. I would like to remind Salman Khan of his promise. I would request him and others in the film industry to start shooting for films in Kashmir.

The multiplexes in Srinagar opened on Tuesday, but the cinema halls in Pulawama and Shopian had opened two days earlier. Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha himself went to both these places and saw the film with the audience. He said that soon such cinema halls would be built in every district of Jammu and Kashmir. Sinha said such cinema halls would also be opened in Anantnag, Srinagar, Bandipora, Ganderbal, Doda, Rajouri, Poonch and Kishtwar. In the cinema hall of Pulwama, many schoolgirls wearing hijab also came to watch this year’s superhit movie RRR.

From Shammi Kapoor to Yash Chopra, it has always been the endeavor of all such actors and directors to shoot at least one song in each of their films in the valleys of Kashmir. Through his films, people all over the world used to see the beauty of Kashmir on the big screen. The people of Kashmir were also proud of this. Theaters were closed after the era of terrorism started in Kashmir, but the shooting of films continued. Now after a long wait of 32 years, the dream of the people of Kashmir to watch a movie in a cinema hall will be fulfilled.

Kashmir The litigants include ‘Student of the Year’, ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’, ‘Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani’, ‘Haider’, ‘Highway’, ‘Phantom’, ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’, ‘Fitoor’ and ‘Raazi’. Films were shot, but none of these films were seen by ordinary Kashmiris living in Kashmir in their theaters. He used to watch these films either on TV or used to go to see Jammu or any other state. lieutenant governor Manoj Sinha told me that he is soon coming out with a new film policy for Jammu and Kashmir, under which big filmmakers will be given facilities to shoot in Kashmir. Along with this, special concessions will be given to encourage Kashmiri youth towards making films. Manoj Sinha is determined that he will definitely bring back the days of paradise in Kashmir. ,Rajat Sharma,

Watch: ‘Today’s ThingFull Episode of ‘With Rajat Sharma’ September 20, 2022

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