Lt. Governor Manoj Sinha last week inaugurated cinemas in different areas of Kashmir including the biggest multiplex in Srinagar, the summer capital of J&K.
In this backdrop, different media houses and social media pages have claimed that ‘RRR’ Is The First Movie To be played in cinema theatres in Kashmir after 1947. Links to the posts can be seen here, here, here and here.
Social media page Lip Times shared an image with the text that read, “Historic day for Kashmir. RRR Is The First Movie To be played in cinema theatres in Kashmir after 1947. Incredible Kashmir, incredible India’.
Mirchi Plus in a report quoting Rahul Nehra, the founding managing director of Jadooz, the company managing multiplexes said “We showed the trailers of Bhaag Milkha Bhaag , RRR, Swades and Bose: The Forgotten Hero. A non-commercial screening of RRR, however, was held for the students.” This makes ‘ RRR’ the first film to be screened at a cinema hall in Kashmir after the year 1947.”
Fact check/ Verification
Newschecker conducted a keyword search on Google to check the authenticity of the claim. We found reports by several media houses on the reopening of cinema theatres in Kashmir.
A report published by The Hindu stated, “Kashmir’s first ever multiplex tryst with cinema will begin on October 1 this year with the screening of two epic movies, Vikram Vedha and Ponniyin Selvan (PS)-I, at the new INOX theatre in Srinagar’s Shivpora area. The experience of watching a film in a theatre returns to the Valley after a gap of 23 years.”
“Eleven cinema halls dotted across the Kashmir Valley were closed in the 1990s in the face of large-scale militancy”, the report added.
Another report published by Hindustan times claimed that “Cinema theatres in Kashmir had closed down in the Valley in the 1990s with the onset of militancy”.
“Sitting in the cinema will be a new experience for movie buffs. We have installed state-of-the-art equipment. And it will all be a different experience from what it used to be 30 years ago in cinema halls in Kashmir,” the report said.
According to the report, the government in 1999, made efforts to reopen cinema theatres in Kashmir like Neelam, Regal and Broadway in Srinagar, but the attack on Regal Cinema led to the closure once again.
“Kashmir gets its first multiplex as cinemas return after 23 years” reports Aljazeera.
Many other reports also clarified that cinema theatres in Kashmir reopened after a gap of 23 years.
We further researched on the history of cinemas in Kashmir, which led us to a report on the Firstpost which revealed that Kashmir’s first film theatre was built by Bhai Anant Singh Gauri at Lal Chowk (named after Moscow’s Red Square) in 1932. The theatre was “Originally named Kashmir Talkies, (but) it was later changed to Palladium, perhaps after the famous theatre at St. Petersberg,” a report on the Outlook claimed, quoting historian and former Director Information and Secretary J&K Cultural Academy Khalid Bashir.
“In the 1980s, there were around 15 cinema halls in Kashmir of which nine functioned in Srinagar. Broadway, Regal, Neelam, Naaz, Khayam, and Sheraz were among some of the popular theatres in the city”, the Firstpost report added.
Explaining that cinema theatres in Kashmir were the first target of militancy in 1989, it further stated, “In August 1989, a lesser-known and now defunct militant group Allah Tigers led by Air Marshal Noor Khan announced a ban on theatres and bars in the region through local newspapers. Films were branded “unIslamic” by extremists who called for an Islamic uprising, adopting the slogan from the 1979 Iranian revolution, “La Sharakeya Wala Garabeya, Islamia, Islamia (Nor West nor East only Islam is the best).”
During the search, we also found an article written by Khalid Bashir Ahmad, published on scoop News claiming that the Neelam Cinema remained functional for some time but ultimately closed down during the widespread civil unrest in 2010.
“On 24 September 1999, the Regal Cinema reopened with the Sunny Deol and Mahima Chowdhary starrer, Pyar Koi Khel Nahi when a grenade was thrown at the cinema killing at least one person and injuring many”, the article reads.
We can thus conclude that the claim of ‘RRR’ being the first movie to be screened in cinema theatres in Kashmir after 1947 is wrong. The findings suggest that Kashmir had several functional cinemas till the militancy began in the 1990s.
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