Violence may keep Bollywood away from J and K

The Bemina violence which disturbed the peace in the valley has affected Kashmir in other ways too with the Bollywood seemingly deciding to keep away from the state due to security reasons, which may as well make the tourists to think twice before visiting the valley.

The shooting of upcoming “Bang Bang” starring Hrithik Roshan and Katrina Kaif was shelved after the crew members expressed apprehensions about security.

Sources told Deccan Herald that filmmaker Siddharth Anand, who was scheduled to shoot at the famous hill station Gulmarg in north Kashmir from March 16, had to cancel the shooting after Krithik, Katrina and other cast members refused to fly down to Srinagar due to the tense situation.

“His assistant, Ashutosh was camping at Gulmarg to be joined by the director and the cast. However, on March 15, the scheduled shoot was cancelled at the last moment as the leading stars expressed concern over security,” they added.

Reports said Anand’s assistants had visited locations in the Valley last year and audition for local cast was done in February this year.

The 45-day schedule shooting in Kashmir had two songs at Gulmarg and south Kashmir’s Pahalgam hill station. With Kashmir remaining peaceful for the last two years, Bollywood filmmakers were returning to the state which was once their favourite shooting destination.

However, the Valley is witnessing another round of separatists-backed agitation which started after the execution of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru on February 9.
Wednesday’s fidayeen attack in the heart of Srinagar city, in which five para-military troops were killed, has added to the woes of people associated with tourism.
Record visitors

Kashmir had received a record number of over 10 million tourists in 2012. Late ace director Yash Chopra revisited the Valley last year after decades to shoot what turned to be his last movie “Jab Tak Hai Jaan,” starring Shahrukh Khan and Anushka Shamra.

In January this year, Bollywood heartthrobs Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone had shot for “Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani” at Gulmarg. The UK issued fresh travel advisories to Kashmir after the hanging of Afzal. “If you’re in Kashmir, monitor the media, avoid large crowds and take extra care. There is a high threat from terrorism throughout India. Recent attacks have targeted public places, including those visited by foreigners,” the travel advisory said.

The recent street protests, curfews and strikes could spoil the travel plans of tourists, right at the onset of the peak season.

“We have seen the worst times during the last two decades. We have nothing to do with politics. All we demand is that we be allowed to earn an honest living to support our families,” said Bashir Ahmad, a guest house owner.

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