In modern society, cinema has evolved into a powerful tool of culture, education, leisure as well as communication with the society. India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru once said that “The influence of cinema in Indian society is far greater than newspaper and books combined”. The narratives that are expressed in films render cinema a wholly unique art form which communicates with people in ways not offered by other art forms. As per a research paper by S C Noah titled as “Cinema is good for you”, the unique properties of attending the cinema have decisively positive effects on mental health of those who are frequent at cinema halls than those who don’t subscribe to it.
Keeping in mind the role that cinema plays in our lives, it is a heartening news for the people of UT of Jammu and Kashmir that movie theatres are making their entry after long period of almost three decades. Buoyed by the positive changes and winds of normalcy sweeping across the region, Jammu and Kashmir LG Manoj Sinha inaugurated cinema halls in Kashmir’s Shopian and Pulwama. On this momentous occasion for the people of valley, he also announced that each district in Jammu and Kashmir will have their own theatres soon. As per LG, opening of cinema halls is an initiative taken by Mission Youth under secretory Shahid Iqbal Chaudhary. The much needed and long-awaited revival of cinema in UT of J & K is not only an opportunity to rebuild the common man’s confidence but also a stepping stone to connect the people with socio cultural mainstream of rest of the country and world. To those who still negate the normalcy in the valley and run the separatist propaganda, reopening of cinema halls on such grandiose scale will result in another nail in the coffin of their anti-national propaganda machinery. The UT government’s well thought about decision to choose the areas known as erstwhile hotspots of militancy like Shopian, Pulwama, and Srinagar, for opening up of these multipurpose multiplexes will help in building confidence in people long habituated to fear, instability and insecurity. The experience of different forms of cinema will help the long-suffering adults of valley to reminisce over the good old days of pre militancy period and will connect the youth with outside world helping them to gain knowledge of what is happening around the world.
The revival of cinema in the valley on the part of government is another step to engage the youth of the valley in economically viable employment opportunities. It will certainly attract the cinema industry to come back to the valley and will help in reminding people how and why it was called as “Switzerland of the East”. There are plan for special offers women and pre 1990 cinephiles to attract the people who saw cinema in its full glory in Kashmir in the past. The built and design of these newly opened multiplexes carries a flavor of Kashmiri culture in the form of paper mache and khatamband ceiling. These multiplexes will also showcase local Kashmiri cuisines through the integrated food courts. The central heating and cooling facilities will help in running of these multiplexes throughout the year. The current security scenario in the valley is conducive and competent enough for the smooth running of movie theatres. With the entry of cinema on the silver screens, it remains to be seen for the entire world to witness Kashmir defying all odds to become an integral part of India’s growth story.
Ideas, Opinions and Views expressed in articles are Writer’s own and may not be in accord with those of SUBAH KASHMIR