The new generation in the Kashmir valley might soon see a cinema hall for the first time in their life as a multiplex is expected to start operating near the cantonment area about 30 years after the cinema theatres were burnt down by terrorists.
Governor Satya Pal Malik has given his nod for the project in Srinagar where about a dozen cinema halls were the first casualty of terrorism in 1989. Most cinema halls were either burnt down by terrorists or made to shut down as their diktat was against such entertainment which they called ‘un-Islamic’.Efforts of the then Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah to reopen the cinema halls failed as terrorists tossed grenades inside the halls during show time.
Terrorists and Islamic fundamentalists had also got the liquor shops shut in the valley.
The valley had 19 cinema halls in Srinagar, Anantnag, Baramulla, Sopore, Handwara and Kupwara but now these have turned into ruins or are being utilized for other commercial activity.
The iconic Palladium cinema in the heart of Srinagar’s Lal Chowk was burnt by terrorists and now the CRPF has set up its command post in its ruins. Those who can afford to travel 300 km to Jammu were taking the opportunity to watch movies on the broad screen in the multiplexes while others watch movies on the internet.
However, the new generation of Kashmiris was using the new technology of the internet, DVD, USB drives and various other gadgets to watch movies of their choice on TV screens and laptops. But this was not the substitute for the big screen of the movie theatres which they have not seen so far.
In the absence of cinema, various government and other organizations have from time to time started organizing skits and drama festivals in Srinagar to provide a window on the rich traditional culture of the state. A film festival was also organized recently in Srinagar in which many movies produced by locals were also shown.Source: The Statesman