-By Qazi Wasif
Srinagar: Kashmir World Film Festival (KWFF) returned to Kashmir with more enthusiasm as the hall was Jam packed for its second edition and eminent Bollywood personalities like Rajat Kapoor, Govind Nihalani, Aruna Raje Patel, Syed Akhtar Mirza and others were present at the event. Among people from Mumbai, locals talent, Muzamil Ibrahim, Phunsuk Ladaki and a young filmmaker Rahat Kazmi were also present at the event. Speaking at the event, everyone reiterated the fact that there is a need to bring back cinema culture to Kashmir.
The second edition of the festival was inaugurated by Minister of Public Affairs, Nayeem Akhtar, at Tagore Hall, Srinagar. The five-day festival will take place between 1st – 5th November. Speaking about the revival of cinema in Kashmir, Nayeem Akhtar said that going to the cinema was a part of a family structure earlier. It was like an event where families would come together and enjoy watching cinema but we have failed the younger generation to provide them with means of entertainment.
“Whole world has cinemas now, countries like Pakistan have cinemas and even Saudi Arabia is also opening them now. I do not know why people do not think about opening cinemas here,” said Nayeem Akhtar.
The event is organized by Actors Creative Theatre (ACT), a non-profit organization. According to the organizers of the event, around twenty-five films will be screened in the festival. Not only Bollywood and Hollywood movies will be screened, but local movies of students from various colleges and universities will also be screened.
Saaz, Kotar Baaz, Bangar Bazaar and others are the local films which be screened during the five-day festival. On an inaugural Day, first Kashmiri feature film Mainz-Raat that was produced in 1964 was screened.
director of the event, Mushtaq Ali Khan said, “We started with a first Kashmiri black and white movie as not many people know about this movie.”I’m really excited to be part of this event participate in the event.
Eminent film director, Govind Nihalani while praising Mushtaq Ali said that the aim of the festival is to “take Kashmir to the world and bring the world to Kashmir. We will love to hear stories from Kashmir.”
Veteran actress Aruna Raje Patel said, It’s a movement and it’s here to stay forever.”
Besides the film festival, a workshop on the topic ‘Introduction to Cinema’ was also held for the media students and cinema lovers in the first half of the day. Bollywood actors Rajit Kapoor, Muzzamil Ibrahim and others interacted with the students and shared with their experiences of working in film industry.
Meanwhile, while talking to reporters, Nayeem Akhtar said that Government would like to take an initiative to re-open cinemas in Kashmir.
All 9 cinemas in Kashmir were closed post the insurgency in 1989. Since then the government efforts to revive cinema has been a failed affair. Prior 1989, Kashmir was the favorite spot for filmmakers to shoot movies. Recently Kashmir started to attract Bollywood again with movies like Rockstar, Jab Tak Hai Jaan, Bhrangi Bhaijaan and others being shot in the valley.