09 Nov 2017/Thursday

The above picture ascertains that Kashmir was undoubtedly a cinemagoers paradise before militancy hit the valley in 1989.  Sadly Palladium, Neelam, Broadway, Regal, Amrish, Khayam , Nishat  have faded into the memory of the residents of the valley.  And the 90’s generation is only glued to small screens of TV, phones and desktops unaware of the movie magic.  Indian filmmaker’s fascination with Kashmir’s breathtaking natural beauty is well known and their love for Kashmir is undying. That’s why despite security threats they keep getting back to the valley for films like Rockstar, Bajrangi Bhaijan, Haider, Yahaan etc.

Why cinema is despised so much in the valley now?

This is because the word “normalcy” is feared the most by the separatists.  Reopening cinemas & theatres would mean Kashmiris have healed, which would defy the vendetta from across the border. Because the tactics to keep Kashmir boiling will be countered; therefore the way all other rights are curbed, a Kashmiri is deprived of the right to recreation and entertainment too by these “handlers”. Separatists might claim religious reasons and politicians will accuse each other but the fact remains that people in Kashmir love theatre and movies.

Why do these radical groups enforce their will on the people?  Cant the Kashmiri’s like all others decide if movies are good or bad for them.

The fact that former J&K Chief Minister’s son Tasasduq Mufti (well known for his cinematography in movies like 'Omkara' and 'Kaminey') chose film as his career after obtaining a degree in cinematography from an American school, means that his father did approve of the same. Then why other Kashmiris are shamed for pursuing a career in films or merely watching films?

The good news is that the Kashmir World Film Festival (started in July this year) is bringing in a breeze of change. The very fact that the festival is organized for the second time in the same year (KWFF was conducted at Tagore Hall Srinagar, from 1-5th Nov 17) is proof that the festival is getting, the right support from the local people, most importantly the youth.

Cinema therapy: The therapeutic effect

Reports of growing psychological disorders in Kashmir are on the rise.  Reopening cinemas could be a perfect way for the Kashmiri’s to relax, diffuse anxiety and enjoy family time. Since many films transmit ideas through emotion they can neutralize the instinct to suppress feelings and trigger emotional release. What Kashmiri’s need is to elicit their emotions, watching movies can definitely open doors that otherwise have been closed for long.