Opening Of Cinemas In Kashmir Remains A Distant Dream

Fazil Masoodi

Srinagar, Jul 27 (KNB): Cinemas and theaters are considered as part of the entertainment industry which helps not only in entertaining a person but also adds educative value on a particular subject, the movie is based on. Till 90s the Cinemas were used to entertain people of Kashmir, however, soon after the eruption of armed insurgency, cinemas were declared as un-Islamic, despite the fact many Muslim dominated countries including Pakistan, Iran and now Saudi Arabia generates huge revenue from Cinemas.

Pertinently, the cinema halls of the Valley including Regal Cinema, Broadway Cinema, Palladium Cinema and Neelam Cinema in Srinagar were closed following a militant outfit ‘Allah Tigers’ terming cinemas as ‘un-Islamic’ announced a ban on cinemas. Most of the Cinemas were later torched or either occupied by the government forces.
Time and again the attempts were made by the successive government to re-open the Cinemas, however, no major success was achieved in this regard. After year 2000 two cinemas were reopened in summer capital Srinagar but were closed following the political uncertainty.

The erstwhile government led by Mehbooba Mufti tried to create a conducive atmosphere to functionalize cinema halls with its spokesman Naeem Aktar for the first time calling that the entire society should come together to ensure children are not kept away from genuine entertainment.

“We have denied our young generation cinema (halls). The whole world has cinemas, even Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia is also opening them now. I do not know why people do not think about opening cinemas here,” Akhtar had said.

Besides, the political uncertainly, the mute approach of civil society by taking it as a ‘controversial issue,’ the main reason of not opening the cinemas is considered as ‘misleading tactic.’

The separatist political leadership believes that if cinemas were made functional in Kashmir the development will send a wrong message to the world. They argue that if cinemas are opened in Kashmir it will be presented as a sign of un Islamic in Kashmir.

Not only the political perspective, many leaders in separatist group believe that re-opening cinemas in Kashmir will start an era of immorality, even as a popular leader in Kashmir slammed Saudi Arabia for re-opening the Cinemas after 30 yrs.

Despite the fact that we have now cinemas in our pockets in form of Mobile phones and Bollywood continue to shoot in Kashmir amid huge rush of local fans the opening of Cinemas in Kashmir remains a distant dream. (KNB)

The writer has its own views…..

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