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After almost 3 decades, J-K gets cinema halls; LG says theatres in every district soon

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Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha on Sunday inaugurated a multipurpose cinema hall each in the twin south Kashmir districts of Pulwama and Shopian, almost three decades after theatre owners downed their shutters in the Valley primarily due to militancy.

Sinha described the occasion as “historic”.

“A historic day for J&K UT! Inaugurated Multipurpose Cinema Halls at Pulwama and Shopian. It offers facilities ranging from a movie screening, infotainment and skilling of youth,” he tweeted.

“We will build such multipurpose cinema halls in every district of Jammu and Kashmir soon. Today, I dedicate such cinema halls to the youth of Pulwama and Shopian,” he told reporters in Pulwama.

The Valley had seen nearly a dozen stand-alone cinema halls functioning till the late 1980s, but they had to wind up businesses after two militant outfits threatened the owners.

Though authorities made attempts to reopen some of the theatres in the late 1990s, militants thwarted such efforts by carrying out a deadly grenade attack on Regal Cinema in the heart of Lal Chowk in September 1999.

Two other theatres — Neelam and Broadway — had opened their doors but had to shut business due to poor response.

Asked if the government wanted to send out a message by building such cinema halls, the LG said, “There is no message.”

Students, youth and people from all walks of life gathered at the new cinema halls at Drussu in Pulwama and Municipal Council in Shopian, an official spokesperson said.

These cinema halls have been established by the government’s Mission Youth Department in collaboration with the respective district administrations.

The spokesperson said cinema halls in Anantnag, Srinagar, Bandipora, Ganderbal, Doda, Rajouri, Poonch, Kishtwar and Reasi will be inaugurated soon.

“The LG dedicated the cinema halls to the people, especially the youngsters, who have waited for a long time for this moment,” he added.

Kashmir’s first multiplex in Srinagar’s Somwar area will be thrown open to the public next week. It will have three movie theatres with a total capacity of 520 seats.

“Cinema is a powerful creative medium which reflects the culture, values and aspirations of the people. It opens the door to the world of knowledge, new discoveries and enables people to get a better understanding of each other’s culture, Sinha said.

Jammu and Kashmir has a long association with the world of cinema. The new film policy and facilities created has once again made the Union territory the favourite shooting destination and has brought back the golden era of film-making here, he added.

According to the LG, the new cinema halls will generate employment for locals and also provide a vibrant space for training the youth and conducting seminars.

Press Trust of India

Press Trust of India is lead news agency of India

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