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After three decades, Srinagar welcomes Kashmir’s first multiplex.

On Tuesday, Manoj Sinha, the lieutenant governor of Jammu and Kashmir, opened the region’s first multiplex in Srinagar’s Sonwar neighbourhood. With this, cinemas have returned to Kashmir after a three-decade absence.

The Lt. Governor congratulated the populace, Vijay Dhar, and the INOX Group on the occasion and noted that J&K has undergone a significant socio-economic revolution over the past three years. This revolution is a reflection of a new dawn of hope, dreams, confidence, and aspirations among the populace, he added.

In 1996, the Farooq Abdullah-led government attempted to revive Broadway and Neelam, two movie theatres, but failed due to low attendance. Pyar Koyi Khel Nahi was halted at the Regal Cinema in Lal Chowk in 1999 when a grenade was thrown by terrorists during the theater’s opening week.

The L-G has now opened two movie theatres in the tumultuous Shopian and Pulwama districts of south Kashmir, encouraged by the changes sweeping the area. The administration intends to build movie theatres in each of the Valley’s ten districts.

“The appeal of movies is that they make you feel involved. You get to watch your deities and heros on film. It’s an enlarged perspective on life. One hopes to tell his or her own stories, according to Mr. Vikas Dhar. “Good stories are scarce in a lot of international cinema. We have amazing Kashmiri tales to share. Youth should be motivated by this to share their own stories.

“Half of the Delhi Public School [DPS] students in Srinagar have never attended a movie theatre.”

 I request them to come and enjoy the way many do in Jammu and Delhi. Bollywood’s relation with Kashmir goes back to the 1950s,” Vijay Dhar, chairperson, DPS-Srinagar, said.

Mr. Vikas Dhar is planning special offers for women and pre-1990 cine-goers of Kashmir on the first day. “We would like to attract women and people who saw cinema in its full glory in Kashmir in the past,” he said.

He also said he wasn’t worried about footfalls, adding, “This is not a business. We really wanted to bring the magic of cinema back. Success will be achieved on October 1 whether one person comes or a hundred. Showing movies on bigger screens after 35 years will be a dream come true.”

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