Bollywood returns to Kashmir, its original home

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Srinagar:  Surrounded by lush green meadows, snow clad mountains and covered with dense vegetation, the beautiful Betaab valley in Kashmir is the latest destination for Bollywood.

The picturesque valley with its gurgling streams, that got its name from the Sunny Deol-Amrita Singh hit debut film Betaab, is once again seeing cameras rolling.

The threat of militancy was a deterrent for over 30 years but with director Imtiaz Ali shooting for his film Rockstar in the beautiful valley with actors Ranbir Kapoor and Nargis, the violence seems to be a thing of the past. Betaab valley is situated at a distance of 15 kilometers from the world famous tourism destination Pehalgam.

"Those who don't live in Kashmir, I want to tell them that we are here enjoying and shooting in a very peaceful manner," says director Imtiaz Ali, reassuringly.

Kashmir was home to the film industry from the sixties to the eighties. Scores of films were shot in the Valley like Aarzoo, Kashmir ki Kali, Jab Jab phool khile, Kabhi Kabhi, Silsila, Satte pe Satta and Roti, the list is endless.

"Tourists like this valley a lot, when they hear about Betaab valley, they get very curious and when they come here they really get impatient to see it," says Ghulam Rasool, a local photographer.

Film shooting almost came to a halt after militancy erupted in the Valley, disrupting the sources of income of many like Ghulam Rasool but with things improving now, one can hope that Bollywood would soon return to what many believe is its original home.

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