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G20 Kashmir meet focuses on film tourism as Bollywood celebs join discussions

Beautiful Kashmir is set to open its doors for flim makers across the globe

Srinagar: With the participation of some leading Bollywood film celebrities, Film Tourism is the key subject of discussion at the G20 Kashmir meeting of the Working Group on Tourism at Sher-e-Kashmir International Convention Centre (SKICC) on the picturesque banks of Dal Lake.

Celebrated Indian actor, producer and entrepreneur Konidela Ram Charan, popularly known as ‘Cherry’ arrived in Srinagar by a special aircraft on Monday. He spoke at length on “India as a Film Tourism Destination.” His lecture was followed by a grand panel discussion on the economic benefits and impact of film tourism at the destination.

Officers associated with the G20 told India Narrative that some prominent Bollywood celebrities, including producer Boney Kapoor with his two daughters, actress Janhvi and Khushi Kapoor, would be arriving here and joining the discussions with the G20 delegates and panellists on Tuesday. Permission has been sought for the shooting of an unprecedented 370 films in Kashmir during 2022-23, according to officials.

The panellists from India, Singapore, Mauritius, Nigeria, South Africa and Brazil highlighted various challenges and country-specific enablers adopted for promoting destinations through films.

Union Minister of Tourism and Culture, G Kishan Reddy, Minister of State in Prime Minister’s Office, Dr Jitendra Singh, and Union Tourism Secretary, Arvind Singh, also addressed the afternoon session. A 75-minute session on “The Untapped Potential of Film Tourism In India—Promoting Incredible India” has been scheduled at SKICC in the forenoon on Tuesday. This too will be addressed by Ministers, Mr Reddy and Jitendra Singh. J&K Tourism Secretary, Syed Abid Rashid, will speak on “Setting the Context and Potential of Jammu & Kashmir for Film Tourism”. A brief documentary of Film Tourism will also be screened at the auditorium.

Senior director and CEO of Motion Picture Association, Lohita Sujith, will present a global perspective on Film Tourism and lessons for developing Film Tourism in India. Aashish Gupta, Consulting CEO, Federation of Associations in Indian Tourism and Hospitality will speak on the potential of film tourism in India with a comparative study of the policies of the key States and strategies required for promotion of film tourism in India.

Secretary, Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Apurva Chandra, will give a presentation on the role of Film Facilitation Office in promoting Film Tourism.

There will be two more sessions on Film Tourism. A 105-minute session will focus on “State Policies and Best Practices on Film Tourism. It will discuss in detail the Film Tourism Policies of Rajasthan, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. It will be among others addressed by Principal Secretary Tourism, Rajasthan, Gayatri Rathore, Managing Director and Commissioner of Tourism, Gujarat, Sourabh Zamsingh Pardhi, and MD Madhya Pradesh Tourism Board and Principal Secretary Tourism, Madhya Pradesh, Shekhar Shukla.

Amitabh Kant, a former Niti Aayog official and now India’s G20 Sherpa, said at Monday’s session that Kashmir was the space of innumerable advantages when it came to film shooting. He made a significant announcement that as many as 370 films had sought permission for shooting in Kashmir over the last one year.

“The finest destination anywhere in the world to shoot a film and to shoot a romance cannot be a better place than Kashmir. We will help you bring more and more romance, more glamour and nature into your films,” Kant said.

Referring to the global village, Kant said where globalisation requires the flow of ideas and the flow of unique cultures and the flow from one place to another, Kashmir has it all. “There is no better place than Kashmir with all its peace, progress and prosperity with its unique culture, with its unique handicraft, with its unique art forms,” he said, indicating that much of it the delegates will see in the next couple of days.

“May you all enjoy Kashmir as the greatest venue for not merely film tourism but as a great travel tourism and holiday destination. Just enjoy, relax and treat it as your greatest stress buster you ever had,” he added.

Kant’s address marked the start of the three-day event at SKICC.

Invoking the age-old love affair of Bollywood with Kashmir, Kant said no Bollywood movie was considered complete without its shoot in Kashmir at one point in time. “Without Kashmir, no romance in India was complete,” he added.

In this address, Union Minister of Tourism and Culture, G. Kishan Reddy, said that India would be a one-stop for film production having beautiful locations, talented technicians, state-of-the-art post production facilities that could create amazing visuals with world-class sound effects.

Quoting Kalhana’s Rajtarangini, Reddy said the Gods often descended to sit on the banks of lakes in Srinagar as this place has captured the imagination of artists, nature lovers and now film makers who would revive film making in Jammu and Kashmir. Many famous national and international films have been shot in Jammu and Kashmir and the biggest aim of the government is now to revive film tourism not only in Kashmir but all over the country.

Reddy said that the G20 Kashmir was of utmost importance as it would explore the immense potential of film tourism and its contribution to our vibrant tourism industry. Winning two Oscars this year was a historic moment for us for ‘Nattu Nattu Song’ and for ‘The Elephant Whisperers’ documentary, Reddy asserted. He said that film tourism was a powerful medium to promote tourism potential as films had a great impact on the travel choices attracting tourists all over the world.

Actor, producer and entrepreneur, Ram Charan, took part in fireside conversation with film critic and journalist Mayank Sharma. During his conversation, Charan said that the beauty of Kashmir was magical as it attracts people towards its pristine beauty and majestic mountains.

Also Read: Bollywood set to return to Kashmir as Srinagar will have its first multiplex after 33 years