Kashmir Sees A Revival of Cinema: After 33 Long Years, Cinema Halls Return
After a hiatus of 33 years, cinema has made a comeback in north Kashmir as the Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, Manoj Sinha, inaugurated multipurpose cinema halls in Baramulla and Handwara. In Baramulla, a 100-seat hall has been set up in the former Sherwani Memorial Hall, located on the national highway in the town center.
After a gap of 33 years, the northern region of Kashmir has welcomed the return of cinema with the inauguration of multipurpose cinema halls in Baramulla and Handwara by Manoj Sinha, the lieutenant governor of Jammu and Kashmir.
In Baramulla, a 100-seat hall has been established in the former Sherwani Memorial Hall, located on the national highway in the heart of the town. The cinema hall has been named after Maqbool Sherwani, a Kashmiri nationalist leader who was a close associate of Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, the founder of the National Conference. Sherwani was tragically killed by Pakistani raiders in 1947.
The new cinema hall is situated just a short distance away from the site of the old Regina cinema, which was operated by a prominent local businessman for several decades. Unfortunately, due to the emergence of militancy in the early 1990s, the cinema was forced to shut down. The owners subsequently sold the cinema building in the late 1990s, and it was eventually replaced by a five-storey shopping complex.
The reopening of the cinema halls in Baramulla and Handwara marks a significant milestone for the region, bringing back the cinematic experience after a long hiatus. The initiative is a positive step towards revitalizing the cultural and entertainment landscape of north Kashmir.
The establishment of these multipurpose cinema halls not only provides the local community with access to films but also creates opportunities for social engagement and economic growth.
The decision to name the cinema hall in Baramulla after Maqbool Sherwani is a fitting tribute to his contributions to Kashmiri nationalism and his close association with Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah.
It serves as a reminder of the region’s rich history and the sacrifices made by its leaders. The new cinema hall’s proximity to the former location of Regina cinema holds sentimental value for the local community, evoking memories of the past while embracing a new chapter in cinema entertainment.
The resurgence of cinema in north Kashmir is a welcome development, bringing joy and entertainment to the residents of Baramulla and Handwara.
The inauguration of these multipurpose cinema halls by Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha highlights the government’s commitment to promoting cultural activities and providing avenues for recreation in the region. The reintroduction of cinema is expected to have a positive impact on the local economy, attracting visitors and generating employment opportunities in related sectors.
Overall, the reopening of the cinema halls in Baramulla and Handwara signifies a significant milestone for the people of north Kashmir. It represents a revival of the cinematic experience in the region and reflects the determination to preserve and promote cultural heritage. The new multipurpose cinema halls are poised to become vibrant hubs of entertainment, fostering social connections and enriching the lives of the local community.
Accompanied by District Development Council chairperson Safina Baig, Manoj Sinha, the lieutenant governor of Jammu and Kashmir, expressed his excitement and referred to the inauguration of the cinema halls in Baramulla and Handwara as a momentous day for the towns. He emphasized that the movie theatres symbolize the growing aspirations of Jammu and Kashmir.
In a tweet, Sinha also mentioned that the facilities in both locations will offer additional amenities such as a cafe, virtual reality (VR) experiences, and conference and seminar facilities, catering to the needs and interests of the youth.
Umar Kakroo, the president of the Municipal Council in Baramulla, expressed his views on the opening of the cinema in the town, stating that it serves as an indication that normalcy has been restored. He emphasized that film enthusiasts can now visit the cinema and enjoy movies, signifying a positive development for the community.
The opening of the cinema has brought joy to movie enthusiasts, but some of them expressed their desire for a full-fledged multiplex. Mohammad Aslam, an avid movie buff, commented that while the transformation of an old hall into a cinema is a positive step, in today’s modern era where people frequent multiplexes to watch films, this cinema may not attract large audiences.
Aslam’s statement reflects the sentiment of moviegoers who are accustomed to the amenities and facilities provided by modern multiplexes. These multiplexes typically offer multiple screens, comfortable seating, advanced audiovisual technology, and a range of entertainment options. Compared to a single-screen cinema, multiplexes provide a more comprehensive and immersive movie-watching experience.
The desire for a full-fledged multiplex in the area stems from the recognition that such establishments can cater to a larger audience and offer a wider variety of films and screening options. Aslam’s comment underscores the evolving expectations and preferences of movie lovers in today’s fast-paced and technologically advanced world.
While the current cinema opening is a positive step towards reviving the film culture in the area, it highlights the potential for further development and expansion. The demand for a multiplex indicates a growing appetite for enhanced cinematic experiences, which can accommodate diverse tastes and preferences.
It is worth noting that the establishment of a multiplex requires substantial infrastructure and investment. It involves multiple screens, state-of-the-art facilities, and a range of amenities to create a comprehensive entertainment destination. Additionally, it requires careful market analysis and feasibility studies to ensure the sustainability and profitability of such a venture.
The opening of a cinema, even if not a multiplex, is still a significant milestone for the community. It provides an opportunity for residents to enjoy movies within their local area, promoting cultural engagement and leisure activities. It also contributes to the overall revitalization and development of the town, attracting visitors and stimulating economic growth.
As the film industry continues to evolve, it is essential to consider the evolving needs and preferences of moviegoers. While a single-screen cinema may not offer the same level of amenities as a multiplex, it can still serve as a valuable community space for film appreciation and entertainment. Additionally, it can be a stepping stone towards the establishment of larger and more advanced cinema infrastructure in the future.
Ultimately, the opening of a cinema in the area is a positive development, creating opportunities for film enthusiasts to indulge in their passion. It represents a step towards restoring the local film culture and fostering a sense of community engagement. Whether it is a single-screen cinema or a multiplex, the availability of such entertainment options contributes to the vibrancy and liveliness of the town.
The cinema in Baramulla will be operated by Jadooz Cinema and VR, a renowned chain of cinemas with a presence across the country. The cinema hall will host three shows daily, providing ample opportunities for movie enthusiasts to enjoy their favorite films. The inaugural movie for the audience in Baramulla will be “Pathan,” as announced by officials.
Rahul Nehra, the founder and managing director of Jadooz, revealed that they currently operate four cinema halls in Jammu and Kashmir. Their future plans include expanding their screen count to 10 by the end of the year in the Kashmir region. The e-inauguration of Handwara cinema has also taken place, and it is expected to open for commercial operations within the next 10 to 15 days.
The involvement of Jadooz Cinema and VR brings a professional and experienced touch to the cinema operations in Baramulla.
With their established presence in the industry, they have the necessary expertise to provide a seamless movie-watching experience for the audience. Their plans for expansion indicate their commitment to promoting the film culture and catering to the entertainment needs of the local community.
The introduction of Jadooz Cinema and VR in the region signifies a positive development for the film industry in Jammu and Kashmir.
By bringing their cinema chain to the area, they contribute to the growth and revitalization of the local entertainment sector. The increased screen count and availability of diverse films enhance the options for moviegoers and offer a wider range of cinematic experiences.
The commercial opening of the Handwara cinema, scheduled within the next 10 to 15 days, will further add to the cinema infrastructure in the region. This expansion showcases the potential for future growth and the increasing demand for quality movie theaters in Kashmir.
The collaboration between Jadooz Cinema and VR and the local authorities reflects a concerted effort to promote cultural activities and provide entertainment avenues for the residents. The presence of a reputable cinema chain ensures that the audience in Baramulla and Handwara can enjoy a professional and immersive movie experience.
As the cinema industry continues to evolve, the involvement of established cinema chains brings credibility and reliability to the film-watching experience. The partnership between Jadooz Cinema and VR and the local authorities is expected to contribute to the overall development and prosperity of the region’s entertainment industry.
The initiatives taken by Jadooz Cinema and VR to expand their presence in Jammu and Kashmir signify their recognition of the untapped potential and growing demand for quality cinema experiences in the region.
By increasing their screen count and establishing themselves as a leading cinema chain, they aim to meet the aspirations of movie enthusiasts and contribute to the cultural enrichment of the community.
Prior to the onset of militancy in north Kashmir, the region boasted a vibrant cinema culture with a total of seven prominent cinemas. In Baramulla, there were cinemas like Regina, while in Sopore, Samad Talkies and Shahkar were the popular choices for moviegoers. Handwara had a cinema called Hemal, which contributed to the local entertainment scene. Additionally, the Army also operated three cinemas in Baramulla, Pattan, and Uri, named after renowned generals.
These cinemas played a significant role in providing entertainment and serving as gathering places for the local community. They showcased a wide variety of films, catering to the diverse tastes and preferences of the audience. The cinemas run by locals and the Army contributed to the cultural fabric of the region, allowing people to immerse themselves in the world of cinema.
Unfortunately, with the advent of militancy in the early years, the cinema industry in north Kashmir faced significant challenges. The prevailing unrest and security concerns led to the closure of these cinemas, leaving a void in the entertainment landscape. The closure of these cinemas was a loss not only for the cinema industry but also for the residents who cherished the cinematic experience.
However, with the recent inauguration of multipurpose cinema halls in Baramulla and Handwara, there is renewed hope for the revival of cinema in the region. The opening of these cinemas marks a positive step towards reintroducing a cultural and recreational hub for the local community. The return of cinemas brings back a sense of normalcy and serves as a testament to the region’s progress and the aspirations of its people.
As the cinema halls become operational once again, they have the potential to reignite the love for movies and provide a platform for artists, filmmakers, and audiences to connect and engage. The reopening of cinemas signifies a fresh chapter in the cultural history of north Kashmir and highlights the resilience and determination of the local community to reclaim their cultural spaces.
The revival of cinemas in Baramulla and Handwara also presents an opportunity for economic growth and employment generation. It not only caters to the entertainment needs of the people but also contributes to the local economy by creating job opportunities in various sectors associated with the cinema industry.
The presence of these newly inaugurated multipurpose cinema halls, along with the initiatives taken by organizations like Jadooz Cinema and VR, indicate a positive shift in the cultural landscape of north Kashmir. With the support of local authorities and the enthusiasm of the residents, the cinema industry can once again thrive, providing a source of joy, entertainment, and community bonding for the people of the region.
In the early 1990s, the cinemas in north Kashmir faced a significant setback as the region became engulfed in militancy. Owners of the cinemas received threats from militants, which led to the closure of these establishments. The deteriorating security situation and the fear instilled in the local population resulted in a decline in the number of people visiting cinema halls. As a consequence, the once-thriving cinemas were forced to shut down.
Over time, the fate of these old cinemas in north Kashmir took different paths. Some of the cinema buildings were converted into shopping complexes, adapting to the changing needs of the community. Others came under the occupation of security forces, who repurposed the spaces for their own requirements. The army, for instance, transformed their cinema halls into conference halls, utilizing them for alternate purposes.
It is worth mentioning that the Uri Army’s cinema building suffered damage during the devastating earthquake that struck the region in 2005. The impact of the earthquake affected the infrastructure of the cinema, rendering it unusable. This further contributed to the challenges faced by the cinema industry in the region.
In recent years, there have been efforts to revive the cinema scene in the broader region of Jammu and Kashmir. The opening of the Inox multiplex in Srinagar, owned by a Kashmiri Pandit business family, marked a significant development in this regard. The multiplex provides a modern cinema experience to the people of Srinagar, catering to their entertainment needs.
While the journey of reviving the cinema industry in north Kashmir has been challenging, the emergence of new cinema halls in Baramulla and Handwara signifies a positive step towards reintroducing the cinematic culture to the region. These initiatives are crucial in reclaiming the lost spaces of entertainment and cultural expression, allowing the local community to once again enjoy the experience of watching films on the big screen.
As the cinema industry in north Kashmir continues to evolve, it is hoped that with proper support, security, and sustained public interest, more cinemas will be established, providing opportunities for filmmakers, artists, and audiences to engage and celebrate the world of cinema.