Movie theaters reopen in Indian-controlled Kashmir after more than two decades

On Tuesday, Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoji Singhe unveiled the latest movie theater in the disputed region, with a hyped ceremony.

“(The opening ceremony) reflects a new dawn of people’s hopes, dreams, confidence and aspirations,” Sinha told reporters outside a theater in Srinagar, India’s largest city, Kashmir, according to media reports. India’s trust.

The theatre held a special screening of the film “Ral Singh Chada”, a Bollywood remake of “Forrest Gump” starring two of India’s biggest superstars, Aamir Khan and Karina Kapoor.

The cinema will open to the public on September 30, opening a cinema in Srinagar, according to Vijay Dhar, a businessman working with Indian cinema chain Inox Leisure Ltd.

“I’m doing it from the heart. It’s for Kashmir, for the national interest,” Dar told CNN.

“Bollywood and Kashmir have long-standing ties,” he said. “A lot of old Bollywood movies were shot in Kashmir. We hope Bollywood will come back and create the same vibe.”

Inox Leisure Ltd. said in a post on Twitter it was “very happy” with the opening, adding that it was “the beginning of a new era.”

Guests at the inauguration of the first cinema in Srinagar on September 20, 2022.

Militants close movie theaters

Kashmir is one of the most dangerous flashpoints in the world. For more than 70 years, the two nuclear-armed neighbors have often fought bitter territorial struggles, and the mountainous region has been the entire territory of India and Pakistan. A de facto border called the “Line of Control” divides it between New Delhi and Islamabad.

In the late 1980s, a violent insurgency in Indian-administered Kashmir claimed the lives of more than 9,000 civilians According to the Indian government, but estimates will vary. Cinemas were then forced to close.

Authorities tried to reopen them, but a deadly armed attack on Regal Cinemas in 1999 thwarted those efforts, the Press Trust of India reported.

In 2019, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s semi-autonomous status, formally splitting the former state into two federal territories, giving the New Delhi government a slap in the face of the disputed Muslim-majority state. Regions have greater control.

The move came after Modi imposed a near-total blackout of communications for two and a half months — a move that was harshly criticized by local leaders and sparked protests.

India said the move to remove the status was to ensure the country’s laws were equal to all citizens, to boost the region’s economy and to end separatism and terrorism it claims to have been aided and abetted by Pakistan.

Since then, the Indian government has introduced a series of policies that it claims will bring development to the region.

Last year, the government implemented a policy It aims to promote Indian-controlled Kashmir as a popular filming destination.

“A well-nurtured film industry can be a major source of effective tools and platforms for wealth creation, job creation, and protection of the culture and expression of the people of Jammu and Kashmir,” it said. “The industry can enhance Jammu and Kashmir’s potential as an investment and tourism destination.”

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