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Cinema should be revived in Kashmir: Vidhu Vinod

Cinema should be revived in Kashmir: Vidhu Vinod

Cinema houses were closed down in Kashmir in 1989 since the beginning of armed insurgency.

Mumbai: Filmmaker Vidhu Vinod Chopra has appealed to the Jammu and Kashmir government to revive cinema in the valley and re-open theatres there to provide young people a 'window to the world' besides an alternative to hatred and bloodshed, witnessed over the years.

Few days back, Union Minister Farooq Abdullah had also urged the people of Kashmir to change their mindset and reopen theatres for public screening of films. The cinema houses were closed down in Kashmir in 1989 since the beginning of armed insurgency.

"I spoke to Farooq and Chief Minister Omar Abdullah one year back about my deep desire to convert the tourist center that was burnt down few years back into a youth center, wherein there would be a library, a gaming room, an art gallery and a few movie screens," Chopra said in a letter to the J & K Government.

"The young people of Kashmir are desperate for an alternative to throwing stones, to listening to politicians' speeches, to loudspeakers spewing hate, curfews, bloodshed," the producer-director, who grew in the valley, said.

After a long-long time a film 'Rockstar', starring Ranbir Kapoor was shot extensively in Kashmir, but those residing in the valley cannot see their heaven unfold on the silver screen as Kashmir does not show any cinema in the halls.

When the armed insurgency began in 1989 all theatres were shut down in Kashmir. There were approximately 18 cinema houses - the prominent ones being Broadway, Palladium, Neelam, Naaz and Regal. However, in 1997, Broadway, Neelam, Regal and

a few others re-opened. Born in a Punjabi family of Kashmir, Chopra is keen on

reviving cinema houses in Kashmir.

Cinema houses were closed down in Kashmir in 1989 since the beginning of armed insurgency. There were approximately 18 cinema houses - the prominent ones being Broadway, Palladium, Neelam, Naaz and Regal. However, in 1997, Broadway, Neelam,

Regal and a few others re-opened.

"Movies were not just entertainment, they were a new life outside the homes of many... You go with your family to break bread, you go to see friends, you go to be part of a thriving community, you escape into a world of possibilities," Chopra said.

A few films like 'Rockstar', 'Yahaan', and Chopra's 'Mission Kashmir' have been shot in recent years in the Valley, but those residing there cannot see Kashmir on the silver screen as no cinema is shown in the halls.

first published:December 13, 2011, 19:05 IST