MUMBAI – Extending warm invitation to the doyens and bigwigs of the Mumbai film industry to the captivating charms of the Jammu and Kashmir’s scenic beauty and hospitality, Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on Thursday urged the country’s premier film fraternity to roll out their cameras again and renew their romance with the ‘Paradise on Earth’.

He said State’s greatest tourism marketing will be through the Bollywood film industry, which will find the State the most ideal location for shooting its films. Mufti Sayeed, who also holds the charge of Tourism Department, was speaking over a dinner thrown for a galaxy of leading film stars, producers and directors, here Thursday night.

“All major movies through the Sixties till late Eighties where shot in Kashmir, which enjoyed the numero uno position in the country’s tourism sector,” a government spokesperson said.

Some of the biggest names of Bollywood film industry including Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Imtiaz Ali, Sudhir Mishra, Ramesh Sippy, Anupam Kher, Madhur Bhandarkar, Rishi Kapoor, Pooja Bhat, Boney Kapoor, Irrfan Khan, Kunal Khemu, Soha Ali Khan, Gulshan Grover, Sanjay Suri, Gul Panag, besides several others attended the dinner.

Asking the big production houses of the film industry to come back and experience the beauty of J&K again, the Chief Minister said anyone who visualizes an idea, the State has a location to offer. “People want to see the real beauty of Kashmir through your cameras. You become brand ambassadors of our tourism sector, which remains the backbone of our economy,” he said.

Urging Bollywood to put J&K in its itinerary, Mufti Sayeed offered all support to the industry in facilitating their shooting plans in the State.

The Chief Minister had also met Dalip Kumar and Shahrukh Khan on Thursday.

Speaking on the occasion, many stars and filmmakers including Rishi Kapoor, Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Irrfan Khan and Anupam Kher, shared their past experiences and future plans of making films in Kashmir. They assured the Chief Minister of Bollywood’s full support in reviving ties with J&K.

Deputy Chief Minister, Dr. Nirmal Singh, Minister for Finance & Culture, Dr. Haseeb A. Drabu and Minister for IT, YS&S and Technical Education, Imran Raza Ansari, also attended the dinner.

Principal Secretary to Chief Minister, B. B. Vyas, Commissioner / Secretary, Tourism & Culture, Shailendra Kumar, MD JKTDC and Director Tourism, Kashmir, Farooq Ahmad Shah, were also present on the occasion.