People in Kashmir will get to enjoy the experience of watching a movie in the theatres after decades. The valley’s first multiplex is all set to open in Srinagar today. Designed by INOX, the multiplex will have three movie theatres and a food court to promote regional cuisine, reports PTI.
This will be the first time in years that residents of Kashmir will be able to walk into a theatre to enjoy a film on the big screen. The valley’s last cinema halls closed in the 1990s due to militancy. According to News18, there were several attempts to reopen cinema halls in the last three decades, but all failed due to threats from militants or lack of interest from the public.“The culture of a family watching a movie together is lost. We are trying to give a comforting place for the young and the old to have full entertainment in Kashmir," Vijay Dhar, owner of the new multiplex told News18.
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The INOX multiplex in Srinagar will open with a special screening of Aamir Khan-starrer Laal Singh Chaddha today, before regular shows start from September 30.
“Regular shows will start from September 30 with the screening of Vikram Vedha, starring Hrithik Roshan and Saif Ali Khan,” said Dhar, adding that Bollywood and Kashmir have old ties. Some of the Hindi film industry’s biggest hits and most memorable songs have been filmed in the Kashmir Valley.
Before the rise of militancy, there were 10 cinema halls in Srinagar. However, militant outfit ‘Allah Tigers’ banned movies in 1989, and the last theatres shuttered in 1990.
Today, many look forward to the opening of the multiplex, which will have a total seating capacity of 520.
Aaqib Bhat is among those eagerly waiting for the opening of the multiplex of Kashmir in Sonawar area of the city, which he says will put an end to his regular visits outside the valley to watch Bollywood movies on big screen. "I travel once every three to four months to Delhi or Jammu to watch the latest Hindi movies on the big screen. Although all the movies are available on various platforms within no time, the feel and experience of watching it on a big screen is unmatched," Bhat told PTI.
The scheduled opening of the multiplex, which will be operated by INOX, comes close on the heels of Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha inaugurating multipurpose cinema halls -- one each in the twin Pulwama and Shopian districts. Sinha described the occasion as "historic" saying "we will build such multipurpose cinema halls in every district of Jammu and Kashmir soon". He said cinema halls in Anantnag, Srinagar, Bandipora, Ganderbal, Doda, Rajouri, Poonch, Kishtwar and Reasi will be inaugurated soon.(With inputs from PTI)