At the beginning of 1990s, names of famous cinema halls like Regal, Palladium, Khayam, Firdous, Shah cinema, Neelam, Shiraz, Khayam and Broadway theatres were erased from the Valley but now the tradition of cinema and entertainment will soon resume for people of Kashmir.
Srinagar, the Summer capital of Kashmir, is all set to get first of its kind entertainment centre as permission for the project has been approved by the J&K government.
International standard multiplex to be completed in a year
The permission for the construction of the multiplex has been granted by the Cantonment Board Srinagar. The multiplex will be established by M/S Taksal Hospitality Pvt Ltd owned by Vikas Dhar and Vishal Dhar over land owned by them in Badamibagh Cantonment area.
According to an official statement, the project will be completed in the next year as the two-storey structure has been completed out of proposed 5 storeys.
A license under section 11 of The Cinematography Act can be granted only after completion of the building and mandatory clearances after a final inspection by PWD, Fire Service and disaster management.
According to the sources, Vikas Dhar, Managing Director M/S Taksal Hospitality Pvt Ltd had sought permission for establishment of an international standard cinema in March this year. Following the inspection of the land and the building, the district administration Srinagar has approved the proposal.
The Dhar family owned the Broadway theatre located in the BB Cantonment and are now building the multiplex on the same site.
Speaking about the new development, Imran Ahmed, 18, resident of Hazratbal, said, "This is amazing news for the youth of valley because of the unstable internet we are unable to watch movies on high speed and downloading is a task. Sometimes a movie is more than just watching. It will be fun to watch it on the big screen someday."
Terrorism eclipsed entertainment & cinema in the Valley
When secessionist violence started in Kashmir in the early 1990s all the major cinema halls were shut following threats by terrorist organisations. Shah cinema, Shiraz, Palladium and other theatres, were eventually converted into makeshift headquarters by the security forces to fight against terrorism. Many were burnt down by the terrorists.
Srinagar city had about 10 cinema halls which mostly screened Bollywood flicks, Hollywood movies are quite rare at that time in the Valley.
(to be updated)