Moving on from conflicts: Jammu & Kashmir to get its filmy glory back?
After the launch of the new Jammu and Kashmir film policy, Bollywood insiders feel that the new policy will help the state become a preferred shooting destination.
The love affair between Bollywood and Kashmir is on its way to find a new screenplay with focus moving away from the lines of conflict to making it a shooting friendly state, thanks to the recently launched film policy.
Last week, state’s Lt Governor Manoj Sinha launched the film policy in presence of actor Aamir Khan and filmmaker Rajkumar Hirani. It comes with a single window clearance mechanism, equipment, location and talent directories, besides offering other incentives and subsidies for filmmakers. Now, industry experts feel it’ll help the state regain its old glory of being a shooting destination.
“Long back, it was a popular destination, but it died down due to terrorism. Now, government is trying to make people feel safe about going there, and that’s why they’re giving some incentives, which is a great move,” says trade expert Komal Nahta.
There was a time when Kashmir was a mirror to the winter wonderland with a whimsical touch, with memories of Shammi Kapoor and Sharmila Tagore dancing around the valley still etched in everyone’s mind. The love faded with stories getting consumed by the tension in the Valley, with focus going on the chaos, clashes and conflicts.
Now, it’s time to rectify the narrative, notes producer Ashoke Pandit.
“The film policy will encourage the film industry to go to the state, and have a ripple effect on tourism as well, while giving work to local people. Showbiz is the best industry to rope in tourism... just look how PK changed the entire economy of Ladakh. The state has suffered for 30 years because of conflict, and now things are better, and we need to show that,” he asserts.
Hamid director Aijaz Khan adds, “Earlier, we used to take all the equipment. But if we get it all from there, it will really help. It is a very good idea. It is a positive sign for everyone planning to shoot in the state.”
In recent times, films such as Bajrangi Bhaijaan, Tubelight, Uri: The Surgical Strike and Kalank, were shot in the state. Now, actor Aamir Khan is shooting Laal Singh Chaddha there.
Pratyusha Sharma from Hami Asto Productions, which arranges shoots in the J & K regions, feels now people will think twice before going to international destinations to recreate the beauty of Kashmir.
“The policy will ensure that more than 50% of the project is shot in the state. Normally, people come to Kashmir for a small sequence. Now, there’s a scope for filmmakers to plan more scenes and a longer schedule. Also, the myth that the state isn’t safe needs to be removed. People from Bollywood know that, but south film industry is still hesitant to come. We need to tackle it first,” says Sharma, who’s currently talking with many makers from Bollywood planning to come to the state for recce.
To this, actor and filmmaker Mushtaaque Ali Ahmad Khan from Kashmir adds, “It’ll help the state become a shooting destination, and gain tourism, make things better for the hotel and transport industry”.