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Updated December 18th, 2023 at 19:07 IST

Kashmir: A global hub for footballers and Bollywood stars

John Abraham recently visited Kashmir for the shooting of his upcoming movie Vedaa, adding to the growing list of film productions choosing Kashmir as their pre

Kashmir turns global hub
Kashmir turns global hub | Image:Republic TV
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Kashmir has emerged as a top pick for footballers and Bollywood actors fostering cultural exchange and global recognition. Renowned for captivating backdrops, these stars find a treasure in Kashmir's enchanting landscapes. Surprisingly, footballers from Germany and Poland also appreciate the tranquillity, seeking respite from their busy schedules in the serene environs of the region. Freestyle footballers Aguska and Patrick Bauer mesmerised the local audience with their incredible skills at Ghanta Ghar in Srinagar.    

“In Kashmir, every step on and off the field feels like a dance with the ball. The region's charm resonates in every pass and every kick. I love the place, and the local cuisine, particularly ‘Wazwan’, is not only delicious but also carries a delightful, albeit spicy,” said Patrick Bauer while talking to Republic TV.

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"Performing before the passionate local fans in Kashmir is an unparalleled experience. The energy and warmth they bring to the game create a unique connection between the pitch and the heart of the valley. Then, the joy of a Shikara ride on the iconic Dal Lake was breath-taking", said Aguska, a footballer from Poland while talking to Republic TV.

The shift in perception is not only revitalising the local tourism industry but also contributing to the positive portrayal of Kashmir on the global stage.

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Film actors like Bhagyashree now opt for the South Kashmir range- which was once considered a hotbed of terrorism. However, with a significant improvement in the security situation, the valley has undergone a transformative change, making it a desirable location for film shoots.

"Whenever I come here, I am reminded of Amir Khusro's couplet that ‘If there is Paradise on Earth, it is here, it is here, it is here," the actor said at a scenic resort located in Pahalgam.

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John Abraham recently visited Kashmir for the shooting of his upcoming movie Vedaa, adding to the growing list of film productions choosing Kashmir as their preferred location.

He filmed a sequence in the Ashmuqam area of South Kashmir. Encouraging others, he called on people to discover the beauty of the Kashmir Valley and immerse themselves in the incredible hospitality offered by the locals.

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"I encourage people to visit Kashmir not just for filming but also for vacations," he conveyed in a video message while dressed in the traditional Kashmir Pheran.

While talking about his experience, John said, "We received a warm welcome, and there is a genuine eagerness to collaborate. The locals greet you with a smile and an open heart."

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In his message, John Abraham also cautioned visitors against littering plastic in open spaces, emphasizing the significance of preserving the valley's beauty.

With Bollywood superstars like Shah Rukh Khan who this year too opted for Kashmir as a backdrop for his film Dunki, the region is experiencing a resurgence in its historical role as a favoured filmmaking destination.

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In March, actor Sanjay Dutt flew from Delhi to Srinagar in a private jet for his film shoot. He was spotted savouring local cuisine, with a special focus on local cuisine ‘Wazwan’. He paid his respects at the Aishmuqam Shrine in the Anantnag district of south Kashmir.

In a video shot at the Shrine, the actor had said that “It felt like a divine calling. My prayers were for Kashmir, for India. I earnestly hope that Kashmir sees more film shoots, welcomes more tourists, and experiences a significant boost in tourism”.

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Over the last year, Jammu and Kashmir has witnessed over 200 shoots, including films, web series, and dramas.  “The government's film policy, featuring one-window approvals and incentives has played a pivotal role in making the valley an attractive destination for film crews,” said Secretary, Tourism & Culture Department, Dr. Syed Abid Rasheed Shah.

Moreover, he added, "LG's administration has taken proactive steps to promote the region, providing the finest locations for film shooting. The introduction of a new film policy has streamlined the process, making Jammu and Kashmir an increasingly attractive choice for filmmakers."

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Published December 18th, 2023 at 19:06 IST

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