Srinagar: It has been 32 years since Ashiq Ahmad, a movie buff, last saw a movie on the big screen in Kashmir, but with the opening of Kashmir's first multiplex in the Sonawar area of Srinagar, he claims his wait is over.
“Every time I travelled outside of Kashmir, I made it a point to take my family to a movie theatre. There are fewer avenues of entertainment in Kashmir, but the reintroduction of cinema will undoubtedly address this issue,” said Ashiq said who is looking forward to the day when he could watch a movie at a cinema in Kashmir and reminisce about the good old days.
The 50-year-old claimed he had been following the progress of famous businessman Vijay Dhar's plans to open Kashmir's first multiplex since it was announced.
“I believe the wait is finally over!” he exclaimed.
Dhar, who also runs a reputable private school in the town, said that the multiplex would open to the public on Tuesday with a special screening of Aamir Khan's ‘Lal Singh Chaddha’.
“Regular shows will start from September 30 when Vikram Vedha - Hrithik Roshan, Saif Ali Khan starrer movie will be screened. On Tuesday, Lal Singh Chaddha movie will be screened for a selected audience,” he told Greater Kashmir.
Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha is scheduled to inaugurate the ‘Inox’ multiplex in Srinagar on Tuesday.
The Dhar family and INOX, one of the nation's major film distributors and theatre chains, worked together to create the multiplex.
Dhar said that they had done all preparations and Kashmir's first multiplex would be thrown open on September 20 and the first show would be on September 30 when Hrithik Roshan-starred movie Vikram Vedha would be screened in the multiplex.
This multiplex would reintroduce movie-going in theatres after a three-decade break.
This multiplex has three cinemas with a total seating capacity of at least 520 people.
Superbly-built latest audio systems have been installed.
Youngsters would be drawn in by the multiplex's numerous food outlets and other entertainment opportunities.
According to Dhar, the purpose of restoring cinema in Kashmir was to provide future generations with the same entertainment accessible throughout the country.
“This is for everyone to get entertained. Our children should be happy. They must also scream and holler. Except for sports and food, there is nowhere one can find entertainment,” he said.
“The INOX-designed multiplex has three auditoriums that can seat 520 people. Dolby sound systems are installed for better audio,” Dhar said.
Dhar said that, in addition to modern amenities, the multiplex's design would incorporate elements of Kashmiri artisanship like papier-mâché and Khatamband ceiling.
He said food courts would be used to showcase local cuisine.
“We have altered the design significantly and incorporated a Kashmiri touch as well as a cutting-edge infrastructure. We also hope to promote and encourage local food entrepreneurs to increase the popularity of our local cuisine,” Dhar said. “We will run the business with qualified locals. It is important to promote our own Kashmiri brand.”
Before terrorism in Kashmir, Bollywood wove its celluloid dreams in the sylvan settings of Kashmir which was one of the most sought-after destinations and filmmakers were saved from going abroad for lush expanses and snow-covered mountains for their outdoor shoots.
The Jammu and Kashmir Film Development Council (JKFDC) has taken several initiatives to promote J&K as a leading destination for the shooting and production of all feature and non-feature content films, digital content, and television shows.
The list of deliverables for producers of incentivised films would include the incorporation of the logo of the Jammu and Kashmir Film Development Council, proof of which would be enclosed along with the documents for subsidy.
According to the Film Policy, the J&K government was identifying catalogues and developing promising potential shooting locations that have aesthetic and cinematic appeal.