While cinema halls across Kashmir are shut for the past 31 years under the threat of terrorists, the government is taking determined steps to revive the valley as the favourite destination of bollywood for shooting movies. Kashmir was the most favoured destination of the bollywood in the pre-terrorism era and most box-office hits were shot at mesmerizing locations in Gulmarg, Pahalgam, Sonamarg and elsewhere.
Successive governments in J&K have been taking futile steps towards revival of Kashmir as the movie shooting destination but fear of terrorism has so far kept the bollywood away.
Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha met top film makers at Mumbai and urged them to showcase again the pristine beauty of Kashmir on the silver screen.
After becoming chief minister in 2002, Mufti Sayeed camped in Mumbai to win confidence of the movie industry and urged them to rediscover the state as a destination for film shoots. He also met superstar Shah Rukh Khan and legendary actor Dilip Kumar and invited them both to visit Kashmir.
Enthusiasm was witnessed among the people when few years ago Salman Khan came to Kashmir for shooting of his super hit film Bajrangi Bhaijaan and Race 3. Other famous movies shot in Kashmir during past few years despite terrorism are Raazi (2018) starring Alia Bhat, Fitoor (2016) with Katrina Kaif and Aditya Raj Kapur, Highway (2014) with Alia in lead role and Jab Tak Hai Jaan (2012) starring Shah Rukh Khan, Katrina Kaif and Anushka Sharma. 3-Idiots starring Amir Khan and Kareena Kapoor was shot at various locations in Ladakh in 2009 when it was not a separate UT and was part of J&K.
Lt. Governor Manoj Sinha is making fresh efforts for this purpose and a group of top move producers had recently visited Kashmir on his request. The visit of number of famous film personalities like Imtiaz Ali, Irshad Kamil, Madhur Bhandarkar, Siddharth Roy Kapur and other big names and production houses to the UT in the last few months has come as a ray of hope for revival of the connect between J&K and the film industry. Big banners of Bollywood were recently on 4-days visit to Kashmir to explore scenic backdrops for their future film projects. They included Ajay Devgun Films, Sanjay Dutt Productions, Reliance Entertainment, Rohit Shetty Films, Zee Studios, Adhikari Brothers and SAB (Marathi), Endemol, Rajkumar Hirani, Excel Entertainment, etc besides representatives from Producers Guild, Mumbai.
The LG earlier this week released famous singer Jubin Nautiyal’s music album in Jammu. Speaking on the occasion, the Sinha termed the occasion as yet another milestone in the direction of making J&K a preferred shooting destination for the film-makers. It also marks the revival of J&K’s halcyon days of being a cinematographer’s delight, he added.
The Lt Governor observed that J&K has always been a famous film-shooting destination. The golden era will be back and many filmmakers are ready to shoot their movies, web series and music albums in the UT.
The film policy of J&K provides for single window clearance, security and world-class facilities to the film-makers coming to the UT, the Lt Governor maintained.
Shooting of movies not only promotes tourism but will also act as a booster for economy in the valley.
Work is underway to develop film city, film training institute, production house and National School of Drama’s regional campus in the UT in coming times.