Flood Kashmir with only tourism tourism tourism pic.twitter.com/JShlsAShjDSalman Khan (@BeingSalmanKhan) May 19, 2015
The intended 'flooding' has not begun auspiciously as the presence of the film crew means that tourists are facing inconvenience. The Bajrangi Bhaijaan unit has been filming in Sonmarg and Pahalgam for about a month now and police have restricted access to the area. Tourists have found themselves barred from Kashmir's most famous beauty spots.
A tourist from Gujarat told NDTV, "Due to film shooting, they are not allowing us to go ahead. They are saying that the road bad, but that is not the truth, we have come from Baroda after spending so much money, but this is what we get here."
No tourism means no business and so has earned the 49-year-old actor no thanks from locals, one of who said, "Film shooting is taking place here which is a great loss for the locals. All the vehicles are stopped- 10,000 local people are without any work for the last 10 days."
The complaints have reached the Jamuu and Kashmir government which says film crews and stars have to be given a safe environment. One option: warning tourists in advance about places out of bounds. Government spokesperson Nayeem Akhtar said, "If Salman Khan or Shah Rukh Khan were to shoot in Mumbai, they will be mobbed there and police would be needed. We should inform people locally that this area is not available for anybody."
Salman Khan has been waxing eloquent about his love for Kashmir. On Tuesday, he tweeted "you haven't seen anything if you haven't seen Kashmir." While addressing the press on Sunday he mentioned that he had wanted to make Dabangg in the Valley and said that he would return. "This is an extremely beautiful place. The people of Kashmir are extremely beautiful, gentle and well mannered, I enjoyed shooting a lot here. Insha Allah I will return to Kashmir," Salman said.
Bollywood is slowly returning to Kashmir after spending decades away. Bajrangi Bhaijaan, co-starring Kareena Kapoor, is the third high-profile movie to be filmed in the state after Vishal Bhardwaj's Haider and Katrina Kaif's Fitoor.
Clearly, if everyone is to benefit, processes need to be worked out so that neither filming or tourism disrupts the other.