SRINAGAR: From the deafening sounds of guns and bombs to the clatter of film-shooting clapboards, Panzgam village in Pulwama has come a long way.
King Khan, who arrived in Kashmir on Monday for shooting Rajkumar Hirani’s Dunki, completed the first schedule in Sonamarg. Both SRK and Taapsee Pannu filming a scene. It was, however, Pulwama, which generated a lot of curiosity. For the unversed, Pulwama was a hotbed of militancy prior to 2019. In fact, Pulwama was home to several top commanders of Hizbul Mujahideen and Jaish-e-Mohammad.
Four years on, Pulwama is fast becoming a peace hub in south Kashmir. With SRK coming calling, Pulwama is making the right noises after decades of bloodbath. This is perhaps the first time that Pulwama village has been chosen for a film shoot and that too for an SRK movie.
“It is something that we have not seen in Pulwama. SRK coming for shooting in the village which witnessed many encounters is something unheard of before,” said a resident of Pulwama.
The subtext of the film shooting in Pulwama is to create a positive image of Kashmir across the world. The government went overboard to facilitate the shooting in Pulwama. Massive security arrangements were made to ensure an incident-free film shoot.
“The government has created enabling atmosphere and ecosystem of facilitation for film tourism in J&K. This is a core focus area for the government. The government facilitated the shooting (of SRK),” Dr Syed Abid Rashid, Commissioner Tourism, told The Kashmir Monitor.
Nearly 200 filmmakers from Bollywood and Tollywood have been granted permission to shoot movies and web series in the union territory. In the last two years, dozens of films, music videos, and web series have been shot at various locations. Several Kashmiri artists were roped in to play different roles. To name a few, Aamir Khan starrer Lal Singh Chadda, Vijay Deverakonda’s Kushi, and Arbaaz Khan’s Tanaav, cast many Kashmiri artists.
“We are expecting more film crews to shoot movies, web series, etc. We are working very hard. We are trying hard to promote J&K as a major film tourism destination. We are in touch with all stakeholders in the film industry as well as others who are directly or indirectly associated with the production of movies,” said Dr. Abid.
Pertinently, in 2021, the government launched its maiden film policy to attract filmmakers to Jammu and Kashmir. The government also created a Film Development Fund (FDF) in the Information Department for the fiscal year 2022-23 for the disbursement of subsidies envisaged in the J&K Film Policy 2021.
A single-window mechanism has been started by Jammu and Kashmir Film Development Council to facilitate hassle-free shooting. Since the unveiling of the film policy, a lot of directors are applying for shooting their films in Jammu and Kashmir.