Back in time, Kashmir was like a mirror to filming scenes with a touch of ice and beautiful locales in the background. Memories of Shammi Kapoor and Sharmila Tagore dancing around the valley still rules everyone’s hearts. The love for the whimsical called faded when stories shifted focus to chaos, clashes, and conflicts of the state and Indian government.
With the launch of the new Jammu and Kashmir film policy by Lt. Governor Manoj Sinha, there is a hope of revival of the state to a preferred shooting destination. The new film policy was launched in presence of actor Aamir Khan and director Rajkumar Hirani.
The new policy is like a single-window clearance mechanism. It will offer equipment, location, talent directories, incentives, and subsidies for filmmakers. Now, experts from the industries feel that this will bring a major change as it’ll help the state regain its old status of being a shooting destination.
Bollywood insiders have given their insights into the matter. Trade expert Komal Nahta says, “Long back, it was a popular destination, but it died down due to terrorism. Now, the 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.”
“Now, it’s time to rectify the narrative,” notes producer Ashoke Pandit.
He further asserts, “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.”
Praising the new film policy, director Aijaz Khan says, “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.”
Hami Auto Productions arranges shoots in the J & K regions. A team member of this production, Pratyusha Sharma feels now people will think twice before going to international destinations to recreate the beauty of Kashmir. Sharma is currently in talks with many Bollywood makers to plan a ‘look around the place’ visit to the state.
“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 the south film industry is still hesitant to come. We need to tackle it first,” adds Sharma.
Kashmiri actor and filmmaker Mushtaaque Ali Ahmad Khan also added his views to the new beginnings. He says, “It’ll help the state become a shooting destination, and gain tourism, make things better for the hotel and transport industry”.