While the country began celebrations commemorating 100 years of Indian cinema in May 2012, it seems ironical that the premier national film institute — National Film Archives of India (NFAI) — would only receive funds in April this year.
The Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry has sent a letter to NFAI informing them that they will send them Rs 7 crore for the financial year 2013-14 to mark the centenary year of Indian cinema.
Pradeep Pathrabe, Director, NFAI, said, “We had placed our demand for the celebration of Indian cinema long ago and now a written assurance has come from the I&B ministry regarding the disbursal.”
It may be recalled that MiD DAY had first raised the issue in an article highlighting that the NFAI had spent Rs 7 lakh from its own kitty to release the first Indian feature film in DVD format last year (‘1st Indian film Raja Harishchandra now on DVD, September 3).
“Without waiting for the funds, we had already started celebrations by releasing the DVD of the first Indian silent film made in 1913 along with two other films — ‘Kalia Mardana’ and ‘Jamai Babu’. In addition, a play on Dadasaheb Phalke, father of Indian cinema was also staged at NFAI on May 3, 2012, with the assistance of Sharayu Phalke-Sannamwar, great grandniece of Phalke.
“The money we would receive from the I&B ministry will be used for digitisation and restoration of films under the guidelines of National Film Heritage Mission. Instead of the present 35 mm film projection, we are adopting the new ‘AD Strip’ technology for projection. NFAI has a total collection of 18,000 films in its treasury, which includes Indian films and also some rare foreign films,” said Pathrabe.
Aarti Karkhanis, Assistant Research Officer and Librarian, NFAI, said, “The money would also be used to digitise rare film booklets, posters and scripts. We would also conduct a mobile exhibition to celebrate Indian cinema from this fund.
Shivendra Singh Dungarpur, an Indian filmmaker has made ‘Celluloid Man’ a film on P K Nair, founder director of NFAI, which was showcased at Pune International Film Festival. Dungarpur said, “Nair’s motto was to procure rare films from the country so that they could be preserved at the NFAI treasury. He managed to get his hands on nine silent films out of the 1,700 that were made. He is not only the founder of NFAI, but a living breathing museum of cinema.”