More movies will be filmed in Kashmir thanks to increased safety: Kant

Kashmir will be an integral part of all stories of India and more films will be shot in the valley which would benefit the local people, the country’s G20 Sherpa and former NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant said here on Wednesday.

Talking to reporters on the sidelines of the two-day Tourism Development Conclave-2024 at the SKICC, Kant said Kashmir needed safety and security which has been assured.

“Several filmmakers have shot their movies and web series in the Kashmir valley. These are remarkable filmmakers… among the best in India. Kabir Khan, Imtiaz Ali, Vishal Bharadwaj, and Sanjay Suri — all of them are top filmmakers.

“They have all come here and shot great films which have been remarkable success stories. You already have a vast number of films being shot here,” he told reporters.

Referring to the recent visit of cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar to the valley, the former NITI Aayog CEO said it was a delight to see him play cricket on the streets of Kashmir.

“Ajay Devgn and Jackie Shroff were hugged by the people of Kashmir in downtown (during the shooting). Bollywood divas Waheeda Rehman, Asha Parekh and Helen came here on their own. They spent their own money to come here and see Kashmir and revive their nostalgic memories.

“So, all filmmakers will come here, they will shoot here, Kashmir will form an integral part of all India stories,” he added.

Asked if the tourism conclave would have a positive outcome, Kant said Kashmir would witness an economic boom and its people would reap the benefits.

“Kashmir needs safety and security which has been assured now… Kashmir and the people of Kashmir will be the greatest beneficiaries,” the G20 Sherpa said.

Actor-producer Sanjay Suri said such conclaves would increase tourist footfall to Kashmir.

“These conclaves really help enhance tourism. They talk about challenges and also opportunities. It is just about promoting tourism. Infrastructure and support is needed,” Suri, who was born and brought up in Srinagar, said.

He said Kashmir never needed to be sold as a destination as it has always been on everyone’s wishlist.

However, with the increase in tourism activity, places like Srinagar are seeing a lot of rush, Suri said, adding that the focus should be shifted away from the golden triangle of Srinagar-Gulmarg-Pahalgam.

“It has never taken me two hours to reach Nishat from Hyderpora before, but these days it takes so much time. There are more tourists coming, more vehicles. I think there is a need to decentralise tourism to other areas, far-flung areas also.

“Enough of this golden triangle of Srinagar-Gulmarg-Pahalgam, we need to focus on developing other areas also. There are beautiful places which I have been to, they should be developed,” he said.

Suri said he expects a lot of Indian filmmakers to come to Kashmir to shoot their films.

“If shootings can take place for 365 days in Goa, why not in Kashmir?’ he said.

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