Cinema To Make Comeback In Valley

The abandoned Neelam cinema hall in Srinagar. (File pic)

JAMMU - The Paradise is set to regain it's earlier glory, with the recently-created Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir ready to bring out a new 'Film Policy,' to harness the local talent, as well as promote tourism.

As per official sources, the dispensation is working on various aspects and is all set to roll out a well-framed Film Policy.

The news has brought a wave of cheer among the film fraternity, comprising actors, directors, technicians, musicians, who have welcomed the move of the government, terming it as boon for them.

''A detailed report on Film Policy is being prepared and it is under process,'' senior administrative officials here told UNI.

They said before the policy is given a final shape, many ifs and buts are being looked into.

''Jammu and Kashmir has rich tourism potential and due to its scenic advantages, it will help the government not only to invite industry from across the country, but also give push to the local filmmakers,'' they added.

''Film city, on the pattern of Hyderabad-based Ramoji, is under consideration and for that matter, private players can be invited to invest for the project or the government itself can take it up and raise the infrastructure,'' they said.

They further said that besides infra, studios and promotional houses within the Film City are also in the pipeline.

''Single window provision, which is one of the major requisites, will also be introduced, to smoothen the exercise of obtaining licence, permissions, no objection certificates to the filmmakers,'' said the sources.

Different government departments, probably, Home, Information and Tourism, will function collectively for this exercise, they said.

''Another important aspect kept in mind is the subsidy to the filmmakers, either the locals or the outsiders, based on Union Territory norms,'' they added.

Rahul Sharma, a renowned filmmaker from Jammu and Kashmir, who earned fame for his cinematography and direction in Dogri film 'Geetiyan,' while talking to UNI, said ''Coming up with Film Policy by the government is a welcome step.

''In this field, separate departments are working, we have writers, directors, actors, musicians, but unfortunately, J&K is lacking in expert technicians,'' expressed the Director.

''Very few people are technically sound and not aware of technicalities, required in film making,'' said Mr Sharma, adding that the policy should have a separate wing of film expert technicians for making a move with a difference.

He, however, asserted that many corporate houses and business tycoons contributed and funded the film industry, due to which it flourished not only in India, but globally and similar kind of thought is needed in Jammu and Kashmir.

Banking sectors, chambers, traders and civil society, all have a major role to play in making regional cinema a success, he added.

''The Government should have major plans for the artists, especially those belonging to Jammu and Kashmir because they have no source of earning except performing in short films and theaters, for which they earn only peanuts,'' Neha Lahotra, a local artist expressed.

She said the industry should be called in from Mumbai and parts of the country, so that the local artists also get a push and exposure, besides assignments on bigger platform.

''The government should also have an incentive scheme for the artists,'' she added.

Actor Chander Shekhar said, ''We must preserve our heritage, tourist spots and multifaceted cultural, because it can be of great help in film making.

''Punjab is a neighbouring state of J&K, but the Punjabi Cinema in present days have their dominance across the world only because they preserved their language, culture and heritage,'' he said and added that the beauty of Jammu and Kashmir is that many languages are spoken in different parts and if films are made in regional languages by giving opportunity to local talent with the help of the government, it will do wonders and the industry can get a big boost.

Actor-Director Vikram Sharma said, ''J&K UT has vast and diverse demographic and environmental beauty, better than any worldly location for film-making.

''Irony is that militancy killed the prospective future of film industry here. Besides, the erstwhile state as well as the present UT, has no cultural policy that fails many enthusiast film and theatre directors to invest in J&K,'' he added.

He said the administration needs to look into this most important feature that can bring film and theatre industry in UT, which can boost tourism and add to economy of the UT.

Producer-Director Kusum Tickoo said, "If the Film Policy comes into existence, then it will be a historic step, but the government should involve local talent for making it more relevant.

"Industry from outside coming to J&K will boost up economy with respect to tourism, but an important factor is that local people should not be ignored and be given more incentives and benefits to flourish regional cinema," she added.


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