With Kashmiri movie theaters closed for 31 years under threat from terrorists, the government is taking determined action to revive the valley as a favorite Bollywood destination for filming. Kashmir was Bollywood’s top destination during the pre-terrorist era and most of the box office hits were shot in fascinating locations in Gulmarg, Pahalgam, Sonamarg and elsewhere.
Successive J&K governments have taken futile steps to revive Kashmir as a movie shooting destination, but fear of terrorism has so far driven bollywood away.
Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha met the best filmmakers in Mumbai and urged them to bring Kashmir’s pristine beauty to the big screen once again.
After becoming chief minister in 2002, Mufti Sayeed camped in Mumbai to gain the trust of the film industry and urged them to rediscover the state as a destination for film shooting. He also met superstar Shah Rukh Khan and legendary actor Dilip Kumar and invited them both to visit Kashmir.
The enthusiasm was seen among the people when a few years ago Salman Khan came to Kashmir for the filming of his hit film Bajrangi Bhaijaan and Race 3. Other famous films shot in Kashmir in recent years despite the terrorism are Raazi (2018) with Alia Bhat, Fitoor (2016) with Katrina Kaif and Aditya Raj Kapur, Highway (2014) with Alia in the lead role and Jab Tak Hai Jaan (2012) with Shah Rukh Khan, Katrina Kaif and Anushka Sharma . 3-Idiots with Amir Khan and Kareena Kapoor was shot dead in various locations in Ladakh in 2009 when he was not a separate UT and was part of J&K.
Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha is making further efforts to this end and a group of prominent producers recently visited Kashmir at his request. The visit of many famous film personalities like Imtiaz Ali, Irshad Kamil, Madhur Bhandarkar, Siddharth Roy Kapur and other big names and production houses to UT in recent months has come as a ray of hope for the rebirth of the link between J&K. and the film industry. Major Bollywood banners were recently on a 4-day visit to Kashmir to explore the picturesque backgrounds 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. in addition to representatives of Producers Guild, Mumbai.
Earlier this week, LG released singer Jubin Nautiyals’ famous music album in Jammu. Speaking on the occasion, the Sinha called the opportunity another milestone in the direction of making J&K a preferred filming destination for filmmakers. It also marks the rebirth of J&K halcyon days of being a filmmakers’ delight, he added.
The Lieutenant Governor observed that J&K has always been a famous filming destination. The golden age will be back and many filmmakers are ready to shoot their films, web series and music albums at UT.
J & K’s film policy provides for one-stop shopping, world-class security and facilities for filmmakers coming to UT, the lieutenant governor said.
The filming of films not only promotes tourism, but will also act as a stimulus for the economy of the valley.
Work is underway to develop the city of cinema, the film training institute, the production house and the regional campus of the National School of Dramatic Art at UT in the coming times.
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