Kashmir born Bollywood actor and Director Rahul Bhat who is busy in shooting for his latest movie ‘Fitoor’ in Kashmir, Monday said that Kashmir is not a ‘conflict-zone’ but, ‘it is the massive presence of Indian Army that gives the impression of it being a conflict-zone’.
“Who told you it is a conflict zone. It looks so because of the presence of Army here. Army should pull out from here. Kashmir is a tourist hub and beautiful destination and all efforts should be put in to turn this Valley into a world famous tourist destination,” Bhat said during an interaction with the media personnel at Nigeen Club here.
Bollywood Director and Actor, Rahul Bhat who hails from Vichar Nag Soura in the outskirts of Srinagar city said that he was overwhelmed by the response and love showered by his native people when he visit his ancestral home in Soura. “I was so emotional and I cried when Kashmiri Muslims hugged and embraced me there. So what I am a Kashmiri Pandit, I must admit that Muslims in Kashmir suffered heavily than Kashmiri Pandits. They suffered all these years more than any community in the State did and the biggest tragedy that tore them apart was the September deluge,” he said.
Bhat according to CNS criticized State Government for its inaction towards the flood victims. “The Government provided meager amount to the flood victims that they spent on clearing the debris only. Youth and NGO’s in Kashmir did a wonderful job and helped the sufferers,” he said.
Replying to a question, Bhat said that Kashmiri Pandits who have settled in different parts of India and abroad will never return to Valley back. “I am myself a Kashmiri Pandit settled in Mumbai and doing my business. How can I leave that business there and settle here. So, to appeal Kashmiri Pandits on daily basis to return to their roots is a futile exercise and it is time to move on,” he said.
He said that Kashmiri youth are talented ones but the lack of infrastructure and opportunities rue their talent. “In my movie, I have a role for a Kashmiri Singer Ajaz Rah who is very talented and I believe that youth have potential here that needs to be harnessed,” he said and appealed State Government to upgrade and give a new lease of life of ‘dying’ Cultural Academy.
Bhat said that he mulling to launch a Cricket Club in Kashmir for the talented cricketers.
Pertinently, ‘Fitoor’ is not only the first Bollywood movie to be shot in Kashmir after last year’s floods, but it is also the first to be shot in the valley this year.
‘Fitoor’ is an adaptation of Charles Dicken’s ‘Great Expectations’ which will see Aditya, Rekha and Katrina essaying the roles of (Noor) Pip, (Begum) Miss Havisham and (Firdaus) Estella respectively.