Bollywood To Assess Situation To Shoot In Kashmir Valley
5 April 2003
The Hindustan Times
Jammu: The picturesque Kashmir Valley, once a favoured destination of filmmakers, is poised for a major comeback in Bollywood movies with a 25-member delegation of directors, producers and other Bollywood personalities slated to visit the valley in this regard. 'Indian movie industry is poised to make serious efforts to start shooting in Kashmir valley soon. A team of 25 producer, directors and other Bollywood personalities will visit the valley to study ground level situation in this direction on April 9,' Jammu and Kashmir Minister of State for Tourism Gulam Ahmed Mir told PTI in Jammu on Sunday. The team led by well-known producer-director Yash Chopra would visit eight different locations including world famous tourist spots and film locations, Gulmargh and Phalgam, during their three-day visit to the Valley, he said. They would not only assess the security situation but also locate new shooting locations, he said, adding the government was hoping for a 'positive response'. 'We hope that they will definite find it suitable for them to start shootings of big budget and multi-star cast film here soon,' the Minister said. 'We are ready to shoulder any responsibility given to us by bollywood,' Mir said, adding, 'The film activity would help in revival of our ailing tourism industry, the mainstay Kashmir economy'. Film shootings started in the state after a delegation led by Chief Minister Mufti Sayeed, which met Bollywood bigwigs in Mumbai in January, assured film units of adequate security measures. The Minister said a 'positive response' from Bollywood would help to 'restore the glory of Kashmir across the world'. In this direction, a delegation headed by tourism minister Gulam Hassan Mir would also hold deliberations with South Indian film industry, he said and added 'I will go to Mumbai to do a follow up exercise after bollywood delegation returns'. As many as 93 medium and big budget films were filmed in Kashmir prior to 1990, when militancy erupted in valley. These included top blockbuster and jubilee films Kashmir Ki Kali, Jungli, Jab Jab Phool Khilay, Anamika and Janwar. However, during last thirteen years of militancy three films were shot under tight security. These included Anil Kapoor starrer film Pukar,Mere Apne and more recently Mission Kashmir, with Hrithik Roshan and Preity Zinta in the lead. Moved by the scenic splendour of Kashmir, the cast of the film Agni-pakha- Richa Pallod and Jimmy Shergil- and director Sanjeev Puri, who have ben shooting in the valley for last one week, lavished praises on the state for its hospitality 'We want the country to know that despite some incidents Kashmir is safe for shooting,' they said. Puri said that Switzerland 'is no match to Kashmir' and 'Bollywood should film their future ventures in Kashmir'. He praised the 'highly cooperative attitude of the administration and people and the scintillating locations of Kashmir' which made the unit to extend its stay here . 'I am so impressed by the countless amazing locations of Kashmir which can be compared to Switzerland,' Shergill said. On the response of the residents, he said 'I don't find any difference between them and people of the other areas of the country. In fact, they are more enthusiastis'. Shergill said more Bollywood teams should visit Kashmir and benefit from the locations. Shweta Shetty, of Mohabatein fame, who is also acting in the film was even more emphatic in her appreciation. 'It is an unforgettable experience,' she said. State Congress President Ghulam Nabi Azad, who was also present at the dinner, lauded the efforts of the government and travel traders to boost tourism.