This is an open letter by Vidhu Vinod Chopra appealing to Government to reopen cinema theaters in Kashmir...
"When I was young, Broadway Cinema was my temple. That's where I went to study cinema. I was very poor, I had no money. The owner, Vijay Dhar would give me a free pass. That little white slip of paper which said 'admit one' was like a pass to heaven for me. I can't imagine that today this gateway to heaven no longer exists. Movies were not just entertainment. They were a new life, a way into the world that existed outside of my house at 35A Wazir Bagh, Srinagar.
Day before yesterday, 900 prints of my film 3 Idiots have released in China in Mandarin language - a first for a Hindi film. It all started in Broadway, Regal cinema and Palladium in Lal Chowk. Look how far a Kashmiri has come. And this would have never happened without those cinema halls. How can you deny the same opportunity to thousands of young Kashmiris? They don't have a window into the world. They have
few jobs and little escape.
I spoke to the Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and Farooque Abdullah one year back about my deep desire to convert the tourist center that was burnt down few years back into a youth center, wherein there would be a library, a gaming room, an art gallery and a few movie screens. I'm not a businessman but I was willing to invest my hard-earned money
into this endeavour. Because I felt very strongly when I spoke to the young people of Kashmir that they were desperate for an alternative to throwing stones, to listening to politicians' speeches, to loudspeakers spewing hate, curfews, bloodshed. This is the same group of people who enlisted my support in their initiative to ban plastic, which was choking the Dal Lake. Omar listened to them and within two weeks, plastic was banned. There is a will to clean up the choked lakes. In the same way, there must be a way to open up those choked gateways again.
Cinema is not the answer to a problem as fraught as Kashmir. But it can and will provide a catharsis of emotions for people who have lived in hell for two decades now. And it will do more--going to a cinema is about more than just seeing a movie. You go with your family to break bread, you go to see friends, you go to be part of a thriving community. Instead of sitting at home in the dark night, you escape into a world of possibilities. And maybe some Kashmiris like me, through that cinema, will find their own destiny. Which is why we must build theaters in Kashmir."
More Pages: 3 Idiots Box Office Collection , 3 Idiots Movie Review
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