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Back to the movies: After decades of closure, Kashmir opens 2 cinema halls on ‘historic’ Sunday

Cinema halls were closed down in Kashmir in the '90s following the spread of terrorism. Jammu & Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, opened 1 hall each in Shopian & Pulwama districts Sunday.

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New Delhi: Two cinema halls were inaugurated in Kashmir Sunday by the Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor (LG) Manoj Sinha, in what was called a “historic day” for the union territory by the LG’s office. The cinema halls were opened in the districts of Shopian and Pulwama.

“A historic day for J&K UT! Inaugurated Multipurpose Cinema Halls at Pulwama and Shopian. It offers facilities ranging from movie screening, infotainment and skilling of youth,” said a post from the official Twitter handle of the LG’s office.

Photos shared by the LG’s office on Twitter also showed that while one of the halls opened to a screening of the multi-starrer RRR, the other showed the 2013 biopic Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, starring Farhan Akhtar.

Cinema halls were closed down in Kashmir in the 1990s following the spread of terrorism in the former state.

The opening of the two halls in Pulwama and Shopian come amidst news of an upcoming multiplex in the J&K capital, Shrinagar.

To be set up by the multiplex chain Inox, the Shrinagar multiplex will reportedly have three large auditoriums, with a combined seating capacity of more than 500 people.

“We are slightly modifying the design element and incorporating a Kashmiri touch along with cutting-edge infrastructure. In order to increase the popularity of our local cuisine, we also hope to support and encourage local food entrepreneurs,” Vijay Dhar, chairman of the project, was quoted as saying last month.

He had added: “We will employ qualified locals to run the business. Our own local Kashmiri brand should be promoted,” he added.


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Bringing films back to the valley

Last year, the Jammu and Kashmir government issued a film policy for the union territory, with the aim of maximising the potential of both its film servicing industry, as well as the promising local film industry. The policy covers the period from its release till 2026.

According to the policy, the relation between Jammu and Kashmir and films is legendary. Jammu & Kashmir has breath-taking locales, a large number of religious and heritage sites, dense forests, waterfalls, a long and cherished tradition of film shooting.

The government aims to use the film industry as a source of investment, employment opportunities, as well as a means of brand promotion to attract tourists, said the policy.

It also mentioned the setting up of the Jammu & Kashmir Film Development Council (JKFDC) to achieve these objectives.

(Edited by Poulomi Banerjee)

Also read: ‘Conflict can’t stop me’ – Kashmiri influencers are censoring, lying low, but won’t go offline


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