Cinema, which had become a casualty of terrorism, is back in Kashmir after more than 33 years. Bhaag Milkha Bhaag was among the first films to be screened in new multipurpose cinema halls at Pulwama and Shopian districts. The halls were inaugurated on Sunday by J&K Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha.

The choice of films to be screened in Kashmir, which was the favoured locale for many a Hindi blockbuster in the 1960s and 70s, was based on demands of local youth, some of whom wanted to watch a movie with a sports theme.

“Today is a historic day for J&K UT. Multipurpose cinema halls at Pulwama and Shopian will offer facilities ranging from movie screening, infotainment and skilling of youth,” the Lt Governor said during the inauguration.

Leading a normal life

Students, youth and people from all walks of life gathered at the new cinema halls at Drussu Pulwama and MC Shopian to witness the event, said a statement released by the UT administration. The move is being seen as an attempt to allow people in the strife-torn valley to lead a normal life and spend their leisure time as any other Indian would do in the rest of the country.

The establishment of cinemas at district headquarters has been undertaken by the Government's Mission Youth Department in collaboration with the district administration, while professionals have been authorised to run them. Cinema halls in Anantnag, Srinagar, Bandipora, Ganderbal, Doda, Rajouri, Poonch, Kishtwar and Reasi will be inaugurated soon and the idea is to have one each in all the 20 districts of the UT, said Sinha.

The Lt Governor dedicated the multipurpose cinema halls of Pulwama and Shopian to the people, especially the younger generation of Kashmir who have waited for a long time for this moment.

Cinema is a powerful creative medium which reflects culture, values and aspirations of the people. It opens the door to the world of knowledge, new discoveries, enables people to get a better understanding of each other’s culture, observed the Lt Governor.

To bring J&K back on the film-making map, the UT administration had brought out a new film policy and created facilities to lure producers from Bollywood. The officials believe it will also give a fillip to the local business opportunities besides offering entertainment.