Entertainment returns to Valley

Entertainment is now making a comeback in the wounded Kashmir valley and hopefully, complementing the efforts to provide a healing touch to the trouble-torn region. The reopening of movie theatres in the Kashmir region, more than 32 years after they were shut by terrorists and fundamentalists, is a welcome move. It reflects the change of public mood on the ground, a yearning for normalcy and peace in a region that has witnessed a lot of bloodshed and social turmoil. As Srinagar’s first multiplex, with a seating capacity of 500, opens its doors for the public, along with multipurpose theatres in Shopian and Pulwama, it is time to reflect on what path to take to make the script work for Jammu and Kashmir.

In the 1980s, Srinagar had at least eight functioning theatres. In 2021, the J&K administration incentivized the shooting of films in the Valley by bringing in a policy but commercial films could not be screened as there were no theatres. While the revival of movie theatres is a welcome move to normalize life in Kashmir, the biggest task before the government is to hold elections to enable the restoration of democracy and allow the elected representatives to guide the development of the region. The gains from the nullification of Article 370 cannot fully materialize unless Kashmiris are made stakeholders in their own development. And that can only happen if J&K is able to elect its own politicians to manage its affairs. Therefore, the Election Commission must stick to its November 25 deadline for the final publication of electoral rolls.