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Lights, camera, action! Bollywood all set to revive Kashmir connection this summer

SRINAGAR: Come summer, Bollywood is reviving its relationship with Kashmir.

Bollywood producers have approached the tourism department expressing a desire to resume film shooting in summer given the improvement in the overall security situation.

Jammu and Kashmir government is planning to appoint a nodal agency to facilitate the filmmakers for shooting in the valley.

The nodal agency will be responsible for arranging necessary permissions and clearance so that the filmmakers do not face any inconvenience while shooting in the valley.

“They require security at the places where they will be shooting. They require special permission for using drones for shooting. They also require some other permission. They always cite examples of Switzerland and even Shimla where they get permission through a single-window system. The government is looking into this issue and a nodal agency may be appointed,” Dr. GN Ittoo, Director Tourism Department, Kashmir, told The Kashmir Monitor.

The tourism department is also exploring options to open virgin tourist destinations for film shooting. “Filmmakers are making enquiries about the places where shooting could be held. They are looking for new and virgin places. Places like Dudhpathri, Duksum, Gurez, Tulaial, and others can be explored. We have shared all the details with them and they are finalizing their plans,” he said.

Kashmir, which was once a favorite destination for the filmmakers for movie shooting, became a no-go zone for Bollywood after the onset of militancy in 1990. Though some films were shot in Kashmir in the mid-1990s amid tight security, Bollywood could not reconnect itself fully with Kashmir.

A few years ago, Bollywood again started rediscovering Kashmir but it stopped again after the civil unrest. More than five Bollywood films including Ranbir Kapoor-starrer Rockstar, Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani, Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Jab Tak Hain Jaan, Saif Ali Khan-starrer Phantom, Tiger Shroff-starrer Heropanthi and Vishal Bhardwaj’s Haider were shot in Kashmir before the unrest.

Tourism planners feel cheap rates, breathtaking beauty, and hassle-free permits are the biggest attractions for the filmmakers to shoot in the Kashmir valley.

“Around 10 to 15 groups from south India shot movie sequences in Pahalgam this winter. Normally south filmmakers shoot in winters because of snow. In Gulmarg too, some filmmakers shot musical videos and some drama sequences. Bollywood is planning for longer schedules in the valley this summer,” said Dr Ittoo.