The people of Kashmir love cinema, and now the young generation dream of seeing their favorite film stars on the silver screen will be fulfilled. The government has approved the construction of the first multiplex in Srinagar city. If the construction continues at its pace, the cinema hall will be available by the end of March 2021.
Wahid Bhat | Srinagar
Sources said that businessman Vijay Dhar, owner of the old Broadway theater in Badami Bagh cantonment area is building a multiplex in place of the old theater. After the completion of this multiplex, it will be the first time since 1990 when people in the valley will be able to enjoy movies on the big screen after theaters were closed by terrorists in the 1990s.
In 1989, there were 19 theaters in Kashmir, nine of them were in the city of Srinagar. Along with the outbreak of terrorism in Kashmir in 1989, a terrorist organization called Allah Tigers had targeted theaters and liquor shops first. In December 1989, all theaters in Kashmir closed. In 1993, the Palladium cinema in the Lalchowk area of Srinagar was burnt by terrorists. After this, theaters remained completely closed until 1999.
One viewer was killed in a blast at the Regal Cinema. 12 people were injured. After this, in 2005, under the PDP government, theaters tried to open but failed. Shah Cinemas, Shiraz, Palladium, and Firdaus were left vacant by security forces and used as posts to fight against terrorism.
The building of the Broadway cinema in Badami Bagh was also destroyed due to arson. After this, there was a silence for three decades. Vijay Dhar decided to build a multiplex in place of the old theater to continue the entertainment tradition. The technical problem in its construction was a change in land use, which the Dhar family acquired. A five-story building of this multiplex is proposed in the Sonawar area. The construction of the first two floors has been completed.
Kashmiri love their cinema
Kashmiri people are a big-time fan of Bollywood films. Prior to the period dominated by terrorism, there was a gathering of film lovers in theaters here. The night show had the same crowd of film lovers as the day. After cinemas were shut and technology advanced, Kashmiris switched to online medium for their fill. Taking to small screens (TV) and YouTube. Those who could afford to travel 300 km to Jammu were taking the opportunity to watch movies on the broad screen in the multiplexes there.
A glorious relation between Bollywood and Kashmir
The Advisor to the Lieutenant Governor had recently said that the time has come to give new life to the old relationship between Bollywood and Kashmir. Many films have been shot in the picturesque Jammu and Kashmir including Junglee, Kashmir Ki Kali, Bobby, Raji, Haider, Bajrangi Bhaijan, Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani, Iyari, Fitoor, Highway, Haider, Jab Tak Hai Jaan and Laila Majnu, Uri: The Surgical Strike.
Former Governor Satyapal Malik had said that youth can be brought into the mainstream only by connecting them with sports and movies. There was talk of setting up multiplex cinema in Kashmir so that the means of entertainment can be improved for the people of Kashmir.