Saturday, March 23, 2019
 
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Hevan cinema reopens:Bid to revive heaven at Kashmir




Bijbehara, March 15, (Scoop News)-More than three decades ago Vijay Kumar would occasionally debunk his classes in the college and visit a nearby cinema hall, ‘Hevan’ at Anantnag to watch a movie there.


The last movie he saw in the only cinema hall in south Kashmir town was ‘Tezab’ nearly 31 years ago after elbowing out several people in the queue to reach to the ticket window for ensuring an entry voucher for himself. However, after the eruption of armed militancy in early 1990 all cinema halls across the Valley were ordered to shut down by the Islamist Allah Tigers outfit.


Since then most of these cinema halls were converted into security establishments and are being occupied by the security personnel for area dominations. So was ‘Hevan’, a commercial complex converted into a cinema hall decades ago. Interestingly, the last movie screened in the hall was ‘Kalia’, starring Asha Parekh, Amitabh Bachan, Parveen Babi and Pran in 1991.


After refurbishing the complex, the Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) personnel of the 40th Battalion Headquarters, restored its 70mm screen on Wednesday last when the projector beams passing through celluloid reel of the movie ‘Batti Gul Meter Chalu’', starring Shahid Kapoor and Shradha Kapoor, focused on the shining cloth amid cheers and whistles.


A tall hoarding displaying Indian flags welcomes visitors with the signage ‘Reopening of Heaven Cinema Hall’, Ashajipora, Anantnag; “Celebrating 50 years of 40th Battalion (1988- 2018).”


At present CAPF personnel are manning the entry gates and ticket windows besides supervising security, allowing civilians on complimentary passes for a few weeks after which they will be charging a nominal entry fee.



With a seating capacity of 525, the cinema hall was thrown open for civilians on March 6 since 1991 when a grenade was hurled towards it forcing the management then to pull its collapsible doors for indefinite closure.


For past three decades, the cinema hall was in complete mess like a mare’s nest. But for the CAPF personnel, who redecorated the entire structure, its ticket windows, installed lighting system and spruced it up by purchasing projectors, screen and speakers outside the Valley for past over one year.

Similar attempts were also made in Srinagar, the summer capital, where authorities encouraged revival of the cinema halls and paid incentives to the owners. But the enthusiasm remained brief as militants attacked them with grenades and other incendiary material.


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