After inaugurating the first multiplex cinema in Shivpora area of Srinagar city, LG Sinha said that cinema lovers are everywhere in Kashmir and cinemas have a long history in the valley. “In the past, people used to come in large numbers to watch movies with friends and family. Cinemas would give them an opportunity to think big and dream big beyond entertainment.”
LG said in 1965 that the Broadway cinema had screened the former Bollywood blockbuster Janwar starring famous Bollywood actor Shami Kapoor. Kappor loved Kashmir so much that he asked his family members to perform his last rites at Dal Lake in Srinagar.
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Gauri Matoo, whose father was the first Kashmiri to start cinema in 1965, said, “Kashmiris have been starved for entertainment for the last three decades and today the first multiplex is providing the people of the valley with an opportunity to relax and be entertained.”
With the opening of the Multiplex, Kashmiris will get a chance to watch movies on the big screen after more than three decades. The valley used to be one of the favorite shooting destinations of Bollywood directors. But with the onset of the riot, the trend of film shooting in the valley stopped and the cinema halls in the valley were also completely closed.
There were about 15 cinema halls in Kashmir and all of them were closed down decades ago. Multiplex owners believe that all closed cinemas should be revived. “Cinema returns to Kashmir after 32 years. It is a historic day and we are personally extremely happy. During our college years, we contributed to watching movies and now 50 percent of people living in Kashmir Valley are those who have definitely not seen movies in theaters. We want to provide these facilities to the people here which they get in Delhi and Mumbai or any other city. All the old cinemas need to be revived. I am very sure that everyone will have fun here,” said Vikas Dhar, owner of Multiplex Kashmir.
The Multiplex in Srinagar’s Shivpora area has three screens and a total capacity of around 520 people. The building is built like any Multiplex but with a bit of cashmere inside. The owners have incorporated Kashmiri Traditional ‘Khatamband’ ceiling and Paper Machie patterns. The Multiplex was inaugurated by LG today, and will be opened to the public in a few days.