Srinagar city is set to get its first multiplex cinema as the the project has received approval in principle. It will be the first of its kind entertainment centre in Kashmir. The multiplex will be a two-storeyed hall, within a five-storeyed commercial complex.
Vijay Dhar, a prominent businessman who owned the Broadway theatre in the Badami Bagh Cantonment area of the city, is reported to have started the construction at the site of old Broadway theatre. He is also the son of late D.P. Dhar, a prominent Kashmiri Pandit politician who was a Minister in the Indira Gandhi government.
DP Dhar had also set up the Srinagar branch of the DPS after the start of militancy. The school in the Athwajan outskirts of the city is a reputed educational institution. He was also the junior Home Minister in the cabinet headed by Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah in 1947 after Independence.
Talking to The Hindu, Vijay Dhar said, “Former Governor Satya Pal Malik had told me that there should be cinemas and entertainment centres for the youth in Srinagar and there was an acute lack of these facilities. It started from there.”
“It is an issue, but more for the government to think about. I feel that since the 1990s we haven’t done anything to address the youth of Jammu and Kashmir. There is a major change in terms of what they are exposed to in the world and what other young people have access to, we must consider that," Dhar further added.
When separatist violence started in Kashmir in early 1990s all the cinema halls in the major towns were shut following threats to the owners by militant organisations.
Regal, Palladium, Khayam, Firdous, Shah cinema, Neelam, Shiraz, Khayam and Broadway theatres were shut in the beginning of 1990s.
Some of the theatre buildings, like Shah cinema, Shiraz, Palladium and Firdous, were occupied by the security forces. They converted them into makeshift headquarters for fight against militancy.
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