All is not lost in Bombay Talkies fire

When a fire broke out recently in the basement of the Bombay Talkies studio, it was said that films and archival material had been destroyed. But it turns out that all their films are safe.

A still from Kismet (1943)
A still from Kismet (1943)

Prashant Pathrabe, director of the National Film Archives of India (NFAI), confirms this, saying, “All 21 films by Bombay Talkies were deposited with the NFAI in 1997-98 by Famous Cinelab, Tardeo, that claimed to be the rightful owners of the material.

These films include titles such as Achhut Kanya (1936), Izzat (1937), Bandhan (1940) and Kismet (1943). We have been stored and preserved them in our vaults; there’s no question of losing them.”

He adds that the NFAI has appealed to film laboratories, film producers and right holders to not run the risk of storing their films in non-standard conditions. He says, “On many past occasions, films have been lost due to improper preservation.

NFAI has state of the art preservation facilities at Pune where films can be preserved well for any future use. Owners are also allowed access to film material that is deposited with the NFAI.’’

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