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Kashmir’s first multiplex opens

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Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha on Tuesday inaugurated the first multiplex in Srinagar city, ending an over three-decade wait of cinegoers to watch a movie on the big screen in Kashmir.

The 500-seat capacity multiplex, a collaborative project of the Dhar family and INOX, one of the top film distributors and film exhibitors in the country is situated at Badami Bagh Sonwar area here.

Aamir Khan and Kareena Kapoor starrer “Laal Singh Chaddhaa” got a special inauguration screening for the guests and viewers.

The Lieutenant Governor said 100-seat capacity cinema halls would be opened in every district of Jammu and Kashmir soon.

He said a film city would also be established and for that the land has been selected. He said in a few months it would be made known to the public.

He also said a lot of movies were shot in Kashmir recently and more shootings are scheduled.

“We will give a lot of incentives to young filmmakers under the new film policy so that local employment is generated,” the Lieutenant Governor said and added that those who ruled J&K for years, used to fly outside J&K and even foreign countries for their own entertainment while all means of entertainment for the locals remained choked here.

He said the cine lovers are everywhere and Kashmiri people have a long history with the film industry.

Sinha said Kashmiri people were barred from entertainment for the past three decades and today, the first multiplex will provide the people of the Valley a chance to relax and entertain themselves.

Recalling the days when in 1965, a Bollywood blockbuster of yesteryears, “Janwar”, starring famous Bollywood actor Shami Kapoor was screened at Broadway cinema, he said: “Such was the love of Kapoor for Kashmir that he had asked his family members to perform his last rites in Dal Lake, Srinagar.”

He said Srinagar was a hub of entertainment once as the district had almost eight big cinema houses functioning — Palladium, Regal, Sheeraz, Neelam, Khayam, Broadway, Naaz and Firdous.

“Today, we are trying to bring back the lost era of cinema again. The opening of the INOX reflects the changing picture of Jammu and Kashmir,” he added.

The LG said that August, 5, 2019 was a historic day when a massive decision was taken by the parliament.

“The government in Delhi is not trying to buy peace in Jammu and Kashmir, but to establish it permanently,” he said.

In 1989 when militancy erupted in Kashmir, a little known militant outfit Allah Tigers imposed a ban on the film screening in the Valley and all the 13 cinemas including nine in Srinagar stopped screening of films.

In 1999, the J&K government offered packages to the theater owners for re-opening of cinemas. Three of them – Broadway, Regal and Neelam (all in Srinagar) re-opened . All the three were later shut after a cine-goer was killed in a grenade attack.

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