Governor & Jawans Cheer Pak Film

18 June 2008
The Telegraph

Srinagar: Guess who’s clapping for the first Pakistani film screened in Kashmir in 20 years: no, not local residents, but outgoing governor S.K. Sinha and the jawans. Khuda Kay Liye, which opened last week at Kashmir’s only operational Neelam cinema, is now being screened at Chinar cinema in the 15 Corps headquarters, becoming the first Pakistani film to be shown to the jawans. “The film was screened at the cinema on Monday at the request of the governor. He and senior army officers turned up to watch it,” army spokesman Lt Col A.K. Mathur said. “The film will be shown at the cinema for some more days. The jawans are showing great enthusiasm to watch it.” The Chinar theatre is inside the cantonment area and is meant for the entertainment of jawans and their families living on the campus located in the foothills of the Zabarwan mountains. Sinha, facing protests from mainstream and separatist parties for approving the transfer of forest land to the Amarnath shrine board, drove to the cantonment to watch the film and appreciated it as a “masterpiece”. “The film has a very powerful theme which is very relevant in the present strife-torn world. I compliment the producer of the film and its actors for this bold initiative,” he said in a statement issued to the press. Sinha is a veteran of the 1947 India-Pakistan war over Kashmir and is known for his hardline position on the neighbouring country. “The army also appreciated the film, which is a clear message that Islam promotes peace and brotherhood,” Lt Colonel Mathur said. Although the film drew applause from the army, it failed to bring in the crowds at Neelam cinema, kept open under tight security cover. A ban by militants in 1990 had forced the closure of all nine cinemas in Srinagar and a few others in other towns. In the mid-nineties, the government tried to revive them by providing sops and security to the owners. Only two cinemas, Broadway and Neelam, reopened at that time. Broadway later shut down because of lack of business. The then National Conference government’s efforts to reopen Regal cinema were scuttled by militants who mounted an attack on the first day, killing several people.