Bollywood classics make a comeback on the silver screen

Updated: Nov 14, 2014, 10:52 IST | Shakti Shetty |

'Garm Hava' is the latest film to join the league of classic old movies that are being re-released as the reel restoration work moves a step further

In 2012, a documentary titled 'Celluloid Man' released and this captivating film highlighted the sorry state of film archives in our country. Turns out those responsible for the rise of Hindi cinema — unlike our counterparts in the West — didn't care much about preserving movies after having made their share of money.

A still from MS Sathyu’s Garm Hava, which is often credited with heralding a new wave of art cinema movement in B-Town. The film details the slow disintegration of a Muslim family and is one of the most poignant films ever made on India’s partition
A still from MS Sathyu's 'Garm Hava', which is often credited with heralding a new wave of art cinema movement in B-Town. The film details the slow disintegration of a Muslim family and is one of the most poignant films ever made on India's partition

Regardless, in the recent past, there have been periodic instances where classic ol' films were restored in order to be shown at film festivals. And if that wasn't encouraging enough, the trend of restoration and preservation took a forward leap as several old films are being restored and pursuing a Friday re-release in theatres. With 'Garm Hava' being the latest entrant to this growing trend, hitlist checks out the others from this category...

'Sholay' (1975)
Sholay (1975)

Director: Ramesh Sippy
Lowdown: While most Hindi classics don't get preserved — let alone restored — Sholay went a step ahead of its peers in 2013. The film was not only restored but also converted to 3D, thus becoming the first Hindi film from the past to have a 3D re-release. Although the technical advents were appreciated by critics, the effort didn't score impressive BO figures.

'Garm Hava' (1974)
Garm Hava (1974)
MS Sathyu
Lowdown: India's official entry to the Oscars, this groundbreaking film in the parallel cinema genre heralded Farooq Shaikh's acting career. Exactly 40 years later, this Friday, the audience will get a chance to revisit the times when arthouse cinema was beginning to making its presence felt.

"The greatest challenge we faced while restoring the film was to enhance the quality of the picture and sound without touching the content. Tricky as the entire process was, the end result is something we are quite proud of," said RD Deshpanday of Indikino Edutainment, the company responsible for the restoration of Garm Hava.  

'Mughal-e-Azam' (1960)
Mughal-e-Azam (1960)

Director: K Asif
Lowdown: If only all Hindi classics were treated the way this Dilip Kumar and Madhubala-starrer was! In 2004, the black-n-white film was restored as well as colour corrected before being re-released. Like Dilip Kumar, who missed the original film's premiere but attended the restored print's first show, loads of cinephiles queued up for a glimpse.

'Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro' (1983)
Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro (1983)

Director: Kundan Shah
Lowdown: There's no denying the fact that very few Indian films enjoy a cult status like this comedy does. No wonder why the makers — apparently without the director's knowledge — decided to digitally restore the film. The new print was released in November 2012 with oodles of admiration from critics and the audience alike.

'Chashme Buddoor' (1981)
Chashme Buddoor (1981)

Director: Sai Paranjpye
Lowdown: When the news of this movie's remake emerged, there was palpable disquiet among the makers of the original film. But it so happened, along with David Dhawan's remake, a digitally restored print of Chashme Buddoor was released on the same Friday in 2012. This development delighted cine-lovers but didn't set the box office coffers ringing.

'Salaam Bombay!' (1988)
Salaam Bombay! (1988)

Director: Mira Nair
Lowdown: It's sad when a film of this stature doesn't make it to most of the media — or social media, for that matter — when it's being re-released. This Oscar-nominated masterpiece was restored and re-released but the buzz was so tepid that a majority of cinegoers weren't aware of this development, which might explain the low footfall in 2013.

'Om-Dar-Ba-Dar' (1988)
Om-Dar-Ba-Dar (1988)

Director: Kamal Swaroop
Lowdown: When hitlist spoke to the director on the eve of the film's release, he was simply relieved to see what was going on. After all, his quirky project took about 26 years to earn a Friday release in 2014 although it was being shown at film schools and festivals until then. And the best part was the film was restored with all the visual nuances intact, making it a worthwhile watch.

For the record

The National Film Development Corporation of India (NFDC), which has been active on the restoration and preservation front, released a DVD collection of digitally restored films in 2012.

Mirch Masala (1987) and Suraj Ka Satvan Ghoda (1992)
'Mirch Masala' (1987) and 'Suraj Ka Satvan Ghoda' (1992)

It included titles like Govind Nihalani's Party (1984), Ketan Mehta's Mirch Masala (1987), Sudhir Mishra's Dharavi (1992) and Shyam Benegal's Suraj Ka Satvan Ghoda (1992).

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