India's Bid To Promote Kashmir As One-Stop Destination For Filmmakers
Srinagar's Dal Lake has been a witness to many romances in Indian cinema - Shammi Kapoor to Shah Rukh Khan, all have had their iconic dance sets filmed with the picturesque lake in their backdrop.
"Almost 370 Bollywood films have been filmed in the Kashmir Valley and now with the OTT platforms, this number will see a sharp increase," G-20 Sherpa Amitabh Kant stated.
According to him, the Working Group on Tourism will ensure more filmmakers from abroad visit the Valley.
"We are promoting Jammu and Kashmir so that foreign filmmakers also come here. We cannot become a world tourist destination without private investment. That's why we want global and domestic investment. We are also encouraging 100% FDI under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, including in the North Eastern states and hill states," said Tourism Minister G Kishan Reddy.
"In Kashmir, you will find everything within a radius of 10 km. There are snow-capped mountains, rivers and lakes. It would not be wrong to say that this area is a producer's paradise," Union Minister of State for the Prime Minister's Office, Jitendra Singh told NDTV.
Earlier, a lot of films were shot in the Valley but the trend faded in the 1990s due to terrorism. But now it seems old times are coming back again, according to him.
"For the first time in the history of Jammu and Kashmir, such a big international event is happening here. It signifies how the situation has changed and how the youth here no longer want to participate in strikes. They want employment," he added.
The G 20 summit organised at the Sheri Kashmir International Convention Centre (SKICC) was also attended by Oscar-winning film 'RRR' actor Ram Charan.
He along with the delegates reached the stage and danced to the song 'Naatu Naatu' from 'RRR'. During his performance, he also taught the hook step of the song to Korean Ambassador Chang Jae-bok.
Sharing his memories of Kashmir, he said, "I have been coming here since 1986. My father shot a lot here in Gulmarg and Sonamarg. I too shot here in 2016. There is some magic in this place which grabs everyone's attention."
The government is trying to bring a new film policy through this working group meeting.
In discussions held on Monday, many countries shared their experiences about how to promote their countries as a destination for filmmakers.
It was also discussed how Tourism in New Zealand went up 40% after the 'Lord of the Rings' movie was filmed there.
"As many as 6% of international tourists who visited New Zealand admitted that they went there after watching the film," claimed an official.
He said even Singapore's tourist traffic saw a huge jump after Hrithik Roshan-starrer Krrish was shot there. "Indian tourism to Singapore increased after Krrish, from 6 million before to 7 million after the film," he added.
Meanwhile, the Jammu and Kashmir administration stated that about 1.8 crore tourists visited the Union Territory last year. And indications so far suggest that this year this number will see a sharp increase.