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Downtown Srinagar hopes for 70mm bonanza

india Updated: Dec 02, 2011 00:26 IST
Peerzada Ashiq
Peerzada Ashiq
Hindustan Times
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The guns have gone but it may be a while before Vidya Balan stares unabashedly from the 70mm screen in downtown Srinagar.

Security forces have vacated the premises of the city's Firdous Cinema, raising hopes of a welcome break for residents who have few entertainment options.

Hindi film Sohni Mahiwal, starring Sunny Deol and Poonam Dhillon, was the last film played at Firdous (which means heaven) in the late eighties.

There is a considerably calmer atmosphere since early 90s, as no major violent incidents have been reported this year. "Thirteen districts have witnessed less than 10 militancy cases this year, while no such incident occurred in Reasi, Samba and Kathua districts in Jammu region," an official said.

State home department figures indicate that attacks directed against forces too saw a dip from 69 in 2010 to 36 till November this year.

For the residents of Hawal area, where the cinema hall is located, the withdrawal of troops heralds a new weekend, though without any show in the near future.

The withdrawal of forces from Firdous Cinema is part of CM Omar Abdullah's attempt to reduce security presence from parts of the Valley. In the last 20 years at Firdous, the screen became a sand wall; the ticket counters, gun-slots. Residents want the films back. "Firdous should again screen films," said Amir Ahmad, a student. "A mall should not replace it."