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Over 300 movies shot in Kashmir in 2021-23 as film era of 1980s is returning to Valley

More than 300 films have been shot in Kashmir during the last two years.

Srinagar: Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha said on Friday that more than 300 Hindi and other language films have been shot in Kashmir during the last two years with the return of peace to the Valley.

Interacting with the media at the inauguration of the shooting for the new Aaj Tak serial “Pashmina” at Srinagar’s iconic Zero Bridge, Sinha said that the traditional film era of the 1980s was returning to the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir after over three decades of turbulence and armed insurgency.

“J&K is once again emerging as a favourite film destination. The era of 1980 when Bollywood and Hollywood films were shot in Kashmir is returning,” Sinha asserted. The revival of film tourism would help J&K’s economy grow and provide youth with immense livelihood opportunities, he added.

According to senior officers of the Department of Tourism, around 500 producers, aspiring to shoot their films, serial and video albums had applied for permission to shoot till October 2022, after the Union Territory government launched its first ever Film Policy in August 2021. Even as the statistics were under tabulation, officials said that more than 700 producers are believed to have applied for permission to shoot films in Kashmir in the last two years.

Bollywood icons including Shahrukh Khan, Salman Khan, Amir Khan, besides Rajkumar Hirani and Mahaveer Jain, are among the producers and actors who were seen shooting for their films in Kashmir in 2021, 2022 and 2023.

In 2022, Kashmir’s first Inox theatre also began screening Bollywood films in Srinagar even as mini cinema theatres have been created at several district headquarters across the valley.

Businessman Farooq Amin, who runs the only functional hotel in the Aru valley of Pahalgam, asks the authorities to liberalise its policy and offer the best possible infrastructure to tourists and filmmakers. “Currently, we are not permitted to replace even a decayed window pane. Pahalgam Development Authority as also other development authorities are enforcing a blanket ban on the creation of facilities,” he said.

Farooq Amin says proudly that five major Bollywood films were shot at his hotel and other locations in Aru valley, 12 km from Pahalgam, in the 1970s and 1980s. “More than 50 percent of the Bollywood, even other language films, used to be shot in Pahalgam, Gulmarg and other picturesque locations across Kashmir from 1950 to 1989”, Amin added.

“One particular valley in Pahalgam is known as Betab valley after Director Rahul Rawail carried out shooting of his famous film ‘Betab,’ starring Sunny Deol and Amrita Singh” here in 1983. One hut at Gulmarg is still known as Bobby Hut after Raj Kapoor shot his magnum opus ‘Bobby’ there in 1973,” Amin added.

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