The aftermath of Afzal Guru’s hanging has started showing its effect on Bollywood. In the latest development, the shooting of ‘Bang Bang’ featuring Hritik Roshan and Katrina Kaif has been cancelled. The same has been done as the crew has expressed concerns on their security and were not ready to shoot in the current volatile atmosphere.
Siddharth Ananad was scheduled to begin the shooting in Gulmarg but reportedly Hritik Roshan and Katrina Kaif along with other crewmembers refused to work in Kashmir in the present circumstances. Ashutosh, the assistant director was already in Gulmarg and was expecting the cast and crew to join him soon but he received a communication that the cast and crew had refused to go to Kashmir.
Kashmir has been on the boil after the execution of Afzal Guru and seen a range of attacks on security forces too with a recent attack on the CRPF contingent in which 5 soldiers were killed. Another attack occurred on BSF petrol party on 21st March when militants fired on a convoy of vehicles carrying the patrol party. One solider was reportedly killed in this attack.
These spate of attacks seemed to have unnerved the Bollywood stars who have expressed their inability to go to Kashmir valley in the prevailing circumstances. Things were looking good in Kashmir and Bollywood had returned to Kashmir after a long spate of absence from the valley.
Kashmir was one of the favorite locations for shootings until 1970’s and many major Bollywood hits were produced in the valley. However, with the clouds of fear looming large over the region in 1980’s and the worsening situation in 1990’s, Bollywood made a quick retreat from the valley. Things started to improve lately and producers had started venturing into exquisite locations in the valley bringing charm on those associated with tourism industry.
The present situation is likely to improve in a while and Siddharth Ananad is quite hopeful that he would be able to shoot his latest flick without much concern.
Meanwhile Afzal Guru’s hanging has started showing its effect on tourism industry too. Winter tourism suffered badly due to the volatile conditions prevailing in the valley. As per an estimate, Gulmarg, which is a winter tourism hub in Kashmir, has lost over 250 nights bookings since Afzal’s Gurus hangings. Tourists from across the world have cancelled their bookings fearing terrorist attacks in the region.
The coming summer season is set to suffer too as the latest attacks on security forces in the heart of Srinagar city has instilled fear among tourists. The cancellation of the shooting too has added to the voes of the Kashmiris who were expecting a booming tourist season this summers.
Remedial steps need to be taken on part of the government agencies and they need to do much more rather than offering lip service in condemning these attacks. The fear expressed by Bollywood stars is for real and can harm the prospects of tourism in the valley if not taken in true earnest.