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Kashmir: After 23 years, the film returns to the big screen in cinemas

Kashmir: After 23 years, the film returns to the big screen in cinemas

image sources, ABID BHAT


After 23 years in Kashmir, cinema returns to the big screen

Indian-administered Kashmir is opening cinemas for the first time in more than two decades. As a result, it is possible to go to the cinema and watch movies on the big screen again in this region of conflict.

Inx Multiplex in the capital of Kashmir, Srinagar, has been renovated.

This multiplex has more branches. It was started by Vikash Dhar with his father. Mr. Dhar says it took them four years to reach this stage.

But it was no ordinary job – the Dhar family demolished an eight-bedroom guest house and built the cinema hall.

It was officially opened on September 20 with the screening of Bollywood star Aamir Khan’s Lal Singh Chadda.

Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant. Governor Manoj Sinha called it a “historic day” and said, “It’s a new beginning of hopes, aspirations, confidence and dreams for the people there.”

This cinema complex has three movie theaters with modern sound systems.

Read more about BBC Bengali:

image sources, ABID BHAT


Cinema was banned in Kashmir for two decades.

Two cinemas will start showing films from Saturday and the third will take time. In addition, the complex has a separate area for children.

The Dhar family said they want to give children in the conflict-affected region a chance to go to an imaginary world.

“Apart from school, there is no entertainment for children in Kashmir,” Mr Dhar said.

Until the early 1990s, India’s only Muslim-majority region had many movie theaters. There were about ten in Srinagar.

Additionally, many Bollywood movies have been shot in Kashmir.

But when the armed struggle against Indian domination began in the 80s, cinemas were then closed because of it.

As the violence escalated, the militant group Allah Tigers banned film screenings and liquor stores.

Later, many of these compounds became Indian security force camps. And some shops and hospitals were built by making some changes.

image sources, ABID BHAT


Vikash Dhar.

In 1999, when the Indian authorities took the initiative to open the cinema, there was a bloody attack on the Regal Cinema Hall. The initiative was thereby destroyed.

Manmohan Singh Gauri owns the former Palladium cinema hall. Recalling their last film screening, they said they last showed the film on December 31, 1989.

Vinod Khanna’s ‘Maha Badmaash’ was last screened in their venue.

In 1932, Mr. Gowri’s grandfather opened the cinema hall in the Lalchawk district of Srinagar. Since then, he has entertained people for nearly six decades. It was burnt down in 1993.

On November 2, 1947, India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, in his historic speech, declared that Kashmiris would have the option of choosing India or Pakistan by referendum. Both countries claim Kashmir as their own but each control part of it.

Mr Gowri fled to Amritsar in Punjab due to the violence.

Even today the opening of the cinema has encouraged him to relaunch the family infrastructure.

image sources, ABID BHAT


Newly furnished cinema room.

In 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government revoked Kashmir’s special status and created an administrative region separating Ladakh from Jammu and Kashmir.

After that, many laws and policies are formulated and implemented. However, locals oppose this and complain that the government is trying to change the demographics of the area.

Lieutenant Governor Sinha’s administration has also taken several steps to bring the filmmakers back.

“We are building a cinema city here. Simultaneously, there will be 100-seat cinema halls in at least 20 districts of Jammu and Kashmir,” he said at the inauguration of INX.

Local artists have also become optimistic about it. Again, this brought back old memories for many.

But many also call it a political project.

A student told the BBC that the government was actually trying to show the situation was back to normal.

Mr. Dhar is also wary of the fragile political and security situation.

“But I’m happy if even one person comes,” he said.

Read more about BBC Bengali:

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