Bollywood’s strong comeback in Kashmir

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Bollywood has made a strong comeback in Kashmir. This is the first case in recent years when more than 15 films, web series, video albums, and commercial advertisements are underway in the Valley. Scenes are being shot at locations like Dal Lake, Mughal Gardens, Gulmarg, Pahalgam. Not only this, dozens of Bollywood and South cinema film producers are in the valley to find locations for their films. The 24-member team of Bollywood is also on a four-day tour of Kashmir. These include Ajay Devgan Films, Sanjay Dutt Production, Reliance Entertainment, Rohit Shetty Films, Zee Studios, Adhikari Brothers & SAB (Marathi), Endemol, Rajkumar Hirani, Excel Entertainment, there are also representatives from the Producers Guild, Mumbai. The team is also seeking a location with the Travel Trade Association and Valley’s film and line producers. 

Due to this, the hotels here are full. The crowd is so much that Gulmarg is houseful by the end of February. Hotel owners hope that this trend will continue in Kashmir. Wasim, the owner of a hotel in Gulmarg, said he had earlier witnessed such shootings in various parts of Kashmir in 2016. This time the picture is looking bigger. They say that the shooting of the film has a positive impact on the tourism industry here. A big film shooting even small shoots generates hundreds of jobs.  

For example, when Salman Khan started shooting for Bajrangi Bhaijaan here in 2015, it created thousands of jobs. Whether the hotel workers or the drivers or the horses, the shopkeepers, all those selling handicrafts got work. Thousands of people also got small roles in the film. He spent around 8-10 crores here. When people came to know that Salman Khan has come to Kashmir, a large number of tourists also arrived. The entire Gulmarg and Pahalgam was houseful for three months. Director of Tourism Department of Jammu and Kashmir, Dr. G. N. Itu says, “These producers will go to different places. Whether shooting the scenes of songs or shooting commercials, Bollywood and others are getting good response.”

Tourism officials said that dozens of film crew are in Kashmir right now, but some want to stay away from Limelight. Actress Hina Khan has shot her film in Kashmir.  Filmmaker Vivek Agnihotri has also shot some scenes of his film on Kashmiri Pandits. Not only Hindi films, but also Punjabi and South Indian films are being shot here. Shooting of Kannada film 777 Charlie and Ratan Prapanch is going on in Gulmarg. A Malayalam film Jaaneman was also shot in Gulmarg. Famous music director Salim Merchant has also completed shooting a song here. The future also looks bright in the valley as many more Bollywood producers are coming. They include well-known films like John Abraham and Jacqueline Fernandez starrer film Attack, Telugu film Alludu Adhors etc. People here attribute the return of Bollywood in Kashmir to the safe atmosphere as well as the bonding done by the government. Apart from this, the major reason is that due to Corona, producers are hesitating to shoot abroad. In Kashmir, they get mountains, rivers, snow, waterfalls, which they find in places like Switzerland, Prague. All the upcoming producers and actors are also happy with the hospitality of Kashmiris. 

Celebrities who have recently visited Kashmir include singer Zubin Nautiyal, Guru Randhawa, Salman Ali, former Indian actress and model Sana Khan, music composer Salim Merchant, TV host and anchor Aditya Narayan.

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