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Treasure trove of Indian cinema turns 55

Unlike any other establishments, National Film Archive of India holds several landmarks and treasures of Indian cinema with rare archives

pune Updated: Feb 01, 2018 16:38 IST
Prachi Bari
Prachi Bari
Hindustan Times, Pune
Pune,NFAI,Indian cinema
Projection room in National Film Archive of India on Law college road in Pune on Wednesday.(RAHUL RAUT/HT PHOTO)

The National Film Archive of India (NFAI) will celebrate its 55th foundation day on February 1. Unlike any other government establishments in Pune, NFAI holds several landmarks and rare treasures from Indian Cinema with rare archives.

Spread over 2 acres with a built-up area of 3,721 sqm, NFAI stands on a land belonging to the Indian Law Society (ILS), which was the late barrister MR Jayakar’s bungalow.

“PK Nair, founder NFAI, first set up the centre as a media unit of ministry of information and broadcasting (I&B) at the Jayakar bungalow with the need for preserving film and other historical documents,” said Prakash Magdum, director NFAI.

The archive has a collection of 1.5 lakh films from Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), Films Division (FD), Nation Film Development Corporation (NFDC) and Children’s Film Society of India (CFSI).

In the recent times, NFAI has acquired films from RK Studio, V Shantaram Foundation, directors Subhash Ghai, Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Basu Bhattacharya and the unfinished works of Ritwik Ghatak.

Phase I of NFAI, located on Law College Road, has three sections —film preservation, research and documentation section and book library. Phase II in Kothrud has storage vaults and a 200-seat auditorium.

In terms of infrastructure, NFAI underwent a major renovation which included new carpet, chairs, Dolby 7.1 surround sound system, and a new DCP projection (4k system) which is the latest in projection technology in the world.

“We have also upgraded the administrative block, especially the preview theatre and are also in the process of revamping the H-VAC system of storage facilities,” Magdum said.

The Jaykar bungalow, which used to be FTII girls hostel where actresses like Shabana Azmi and Jaya Bachchan enjoyed their student years, is in the last stage of renovation.

The bungalow was also a functional residence of the then FTII director Jagat Murari. Once the restoration is over, the beautiful structure will house the digital library, wherein film lovers and researchers can browse and access thousands of books and literature. Besides that, there will be personalised viewing spaces for researchers and film lovers.

In the past three years, there has been an increase in the outreach efforts with the film industry, academicians and the film research community.

“We want to be proactive and want people to come and experience the rich heritage of cinema. Hence, NFAI has been holding several thematic film festivals and poster exhibitions. I want the archive to be more connected, vibrant and want to spread its activity in India and abroad. The objective is to bring out information and material in the public domain so that it will reach out to maximum number of people. We have digitised more than 560 films of which, 320 have been restored. NFAI has also bought out DVDs of silent films,” he said.

First Published: Feb 01, 2018 16:37 IST