FILM SHOOT CANCELLATION IN GULMARG | Stakeholders call it ‘unfortunate incident’

CEO GDA rubbishes allegations
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Srinagar: A day after Greater Kashmir reported about the cancellation of a film shooting at Gulmarg ski resort due to the alleged misbehaviour of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Gulmarg Development Authority (GDA), various tourism stakeholders in Kashmir reacted to this calling it an “unfortunate incident”.

Mushtaque Ali Ahmad Khan, a Kashmiri filmmaker termed the incident “shocking and unfortunate”.

“At a time when LG’s government is putting in efforts to bring the film industry back to Kashmir, such incidents are ruining the government's hard work. I request the government to investigate this matter as this can cause more damage in the future,” he said. “I also request the government to have a single-window permission system for the clearance of shooting crews in Kashmir.”

President Travel Agents Association of Kashmir (TAAK) Farooq A Kuthoo said that not having a single-window clearance in Kashmir was tragic.

“The LG’s administration should ensure cooperation and support to the local line producers and film units visiting Kashmir to shoot so that they can promote this place,” he said.

Owner of Euphoria Travels in Srinagar, Irshad Ahmad Hazari said that this was not the first time that they had witnessed such a behaviour of the officials.

“We have been made to move from pillar to post to get shooting permissions. We have to beg the DCs and other officials for permission,” he said. “The government calls it single-window clearance for film shooting in Kashmir but one needs to go to multiple departments for permissions. Usually, they don’t facilitate things until some influential people call them.”

General Secretary of Houseboat Owners Association Kashmir (HOAK) Abdul Rasheed said that films had been the lifeline of the tourism industry in Kashmir.

“A lot of film shootings have taken place in houseboats in Dal Lake and Nigeen Lake. Films are an important source of employment in Kashmir. Several film stars stay in the houseboats whenever they visit Kashmir,” Rasheed said.

A hotelier based in Srinagar said that such officers degrade the image of Kashmir.

“We should feel excited that big film stars visit Kashmir for shooting. Unfortunately, our officials treat them with disdain,” he said. “Strict action should be taken against such officers.”

A Bollywood film unit had alleged that they had to cancel their shooting in Gulmarg after the ‘misbehaviour’ of the CEO of GDA and its staff.

The unit was shooting for an untitled Bollywood film under the production of Star Fortune Movies in Kashmir.

However, CEO GDA Ghulam Jeelani Zargar rubbished all these allegations saying that the film crew had permission to shoot on November 10 but were shooting on November 7.

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