Cinema has a role

Cinema during the mid-fifties, the sixties and the seventies played a substantive role in the promotion of tourism in the state. Capturing the enthralling scenic beauty on celluloid had become a passion with every big and small production house and delight for best cinematographers from Bombay, now Mumbai. For almost three decades, it was hard to imagine a super-hit film that was not shot in Kashmir. In attracting domestic tourism, which was at its peak until the early eighties, Bollywood had played a much more prominent role than advertisement campaigns by the state tourism department. Nonetheless, it cannot be denied the state tourism department had very vibrant outstation offices in many metropolitan cities across the country. The films did not only promote tourism destinations inside Kashmir but also introduced handicrafts of the state, with all their beauty and grandeur to a bigger audience across the country. After losing interests in Kashmir for a few decades, it portends well that Kashmir’s enchanting landscape is again attracting cinema and television industry. That during the past three years permission granted by the state tourism department to various production houses has gone up from twenty-nine in 2016 to seventy-five in 2018 is good news.

In a scenario, when some television channels are terrifyingly carrying out negative campaigns against the state with an ulterior motive incentivising film producers to shoot more and more movies in Kashmir will help in bringing back domestic tourism to various tourism destinations in the state. The state tourism with all its infrastructures exits, but it has lost the much-needed drive and initiative that could revive the tourism industry in the state. To bring back domestic tourism to the state, it not only needs to breathe a new life in its existing bureaus in various metropolitan cities by posting talented officers but also set up bureaus, more particularly in the southern states. The concerned departments need to showcase the incidents like ‘Tim Robertson and Kate Hamilton tying a nuptial knot at Gulmarg’ during winter, and statement of Gary Weare that ‘Kashmir is safe’. The Central government needs to impress upon its missions outside the country to request various countries for withdrawing the advisories against visiting Kashmir.