Lights, films, Valley: Chennai-based start-up Jadooz to take films to Kashmir

The company, Jadooz, will open two mini theaters in Pulwama and Shopian on September 18

The company, Jadooz, will open two mini theaters in Pulwama and Shopian on September 18

After more than 30 years, culture and cinema are all set for a big push in the Kashmir Valley, thanks to Chennai-based entertainment start-up Jadooz. The company which sets up mini theaters in rural pockets of India, is opening two mini theaters in Pulwama and Shopian on Sunday. Manoj Sinha, Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, will be unveiling the screens.

“During the 80s and early 90s theaters here in the valley had to pull down their screens due to the rise in militancy. People in this region had to travel 4-6 hours to watch a film,” Rahul Nehra, founder and managing director of Jadooz, told The Hindu. “J&K had some of the most beautiful theaters three decades ago. After that, the audience was there but the cinema went missing. So with the help of the government we decided to set up operations here,” he said. According to him, it took 15 days to set up the screens and get the facilities ready.

In the coming months, the start-up will come up with theaters at Adampur, Khatua, and Bhadarwah to name a few.

Currently, the start-up has 20 screens up and running across the country and it will be adding 50 more in the coming months. “Of this, 25 will come up in J&K alone,” Mr. Nehra said. “At Bhadarwah, we will be operating from an old theater which was shut down in the 80s. This is a 120-seater theater. We are working on it,” he explained.

The start-up invests anywhere between ₹50 lakh to a crore for each of these centers depending on the location. It has earmarked around ₹25 crore for the upcoming theatres.

Founded in 2018 by actor, classical dancer and Padma Shri awardee Shobana and Mr. Nehra, a technocrat with a degree from NIT-Trichy, the start-up owns and operates entertainment zones that consist of a 30-50 seater cinema hall, virtual reality (VR) zones, interactive education zones and cafes, across villages in India.

Apart from screening movies, Jadooz also intends to open up these two places for education. “When there is no screening we will use this place as coaching centers. Currently, students in the valley are traveling to Srinagar for engineering and other coaching,” Mr. Nehra said.

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