SETTING UP FOR THE BEST SHOT

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Setting up for the best shot

by Bisma Nazir 

Srinagar is all set to host the G-20 Summit under the Tourism sector and the
government is taking its best shot in ensuring that the guest countries get more than
interested in the Valley as a destination for shooting films.

AFTER assuming the presidency of G-20 in December 2022, New Delhi has prioritised
Kashmir as the global film destination and for event tourism. Only three places in the country were identified for G-20 conferences in the Tourism sector – Rann of Kutch (Gujarat), Siliguri (West Bengal) and Srinagar (Jammu and Kashmir).

The conferences have already been convened in Rann of Kutch and Siliguri in February and
April respectively. The third is scheduled to be held in Srinagar between May 22 and 24.
This is the first-of-its-kind high profile international event that Srinagar is set to host
post the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35-A on August 5, 2019. Besides the member countries that include Germany, France, China, Italy, Argentine, Canada, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Russia, Japan, Turkey, Mexico, South Africa, United Kingdom, United States and the European Union, New Delhi has invited UAE Oman, Singapore, Spain, Mauritius, Netherlands, Nigeria Bangladesh and Egypt as special guests to the Srinagar  event. Around 150 delegates are likely to participate in the G- 20 Srinagar event. There is an attempt to showcase Kashmir as a potential international tourism destination, particularly for shooting films because of its uniquely beautiful
landscape.

The Jammu and Kashmir government had recently formulated a film policy. The main
highlight of the policy was the single window clearance for shooting films in Kashmir. The
domestic film industries of Bollywood and Tollywood have already shown keen interest in
Kashmir post the formulation of the policy. Projecting and promoting Kashmir as an
international film shooting destination in a big way by the governments in Srinagar and New Delhi, could be hugely beneficial to the people of Jammu and Kashmir. The promotion certainly has huge financial implications for the government. It brings along the responsibility of providing facilities of international standards and create an impressive infrastructure to attract the international film community to Kashmir. The lyrical beauty, serene waters, lush green forests and snow-capped mountains of Kashmir offer great opportunities to filmmakers from across the world to shoot films in Kashmir
on a comparatively low cost as compared to some recognised European destinations.
However, Nature alone doesn’t suffice in the parameters of the international film community. You have to create a world class infrastructure and logistics for attracting the film industry. Besides creating the infrastructure, the government has to be conscious about the fragile environment. The international film community is expected to land in Srinagar only if the ecology is preserved and infrastructure is
created.
The government is eyeing important partnerships under Foreign Direct Investments
(FDI) in the Tourism sector. It has already signed a number of MoUs with the UAE for
creating infrastructure in hospitality and IT sectors. Because the scheduled event of G-20
is attended by many friendly countries besides the member countries of G-20, it is expected that a stage is set for some joint ventures which could help in creating a world class infrastructure in the Kashmir valley. It is widely appreciated that the government of Jammu and Kashmir has consciously worked out a sight- seeing plan for the G20 delegates that could certainly inspire them to invest at least in this particular sector of hospitality. Also, it is unusual but very interesting to note that the government has arranged for the stay of the guests at Dachigam Park, which again, is an intelligent move aimed at taking the guests directly in proximity with Nature. The efforts are to inspire both member countries and the special invitees to invest in Kashmir. As has been reported, the government has already sensitised various stakeholders in the Tourism sector to push for foreign investment in a big way. Politics apart, the Srinagar summit is genuinely seen as a major and smart move to bring Kashmir on the international map in the Tourism sector, particularly in its promotion as a viable and a vibrant film shooting destination.
The government has put in place, elaborate security measures for the smooth conduct of
this international event. Multi-tier security arrangements are being made in the wake of a
possible misadventure by those on the other side of the Border. The Srinagar civil and police administration are on tenterhooks in providing  congenial atmosphere – both from the security perspective, and logistics – for the conduct of the G-20 Summit. Major overhauling and revamping of the Srinagar city is going on with the agencies concerned working day and night to smarten it up. It is hoped that the event will be a huge success.

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