Utpal Borpujari

May 29, 2009

NFDC to restore 100 films in 3 years

By Utpal Borpujari in Cannes

Taking a cue from similar initiatives in many parts of the world, the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) has taken a first-time initiative to restore a large number of valuable films produced by it, including four Satyajit Ray masterpieces.

NFDC’s target is to restore 100 films over the next three years, and the project will take off with the restoration of two of its classic productions, Kundan Shah’s “Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron” and Ketan Mehta’s “Mirch Masala”.

The Ray films that will be restored are the second of the Apu trilogy, “Aparajito”, along with “Ghare Baire”, “Ganashatru” and “Agantuk”.

“Our target is to restore 100 titles in the next three years. It’s going to be a tall order in terms of both money and labour, but it will be well worth it,” NFDC managing director Nina Lath Gupta told Deccan Herald here.

Over the years, many of NFDC’s films, which include some of Indian cinema’s finest-ever, have deteriorated to a great extent. “Many of the films are in a really bad shape and their restoration is an absolute and urgent necessity,” says Gupta.

“If we do not do something about these films now, it might be too late later. And we hope the National Film Archives of India would lend its expertise in this regard to us,” she says.

The other films to be restored include “Suraj Ka Satvan Ghoda”, “Samar” (both Shyam Benegal), “Main Zinda Hoon”, “Dharavi” (both by Sudhir Mishra), “Party” (Govind Nihalani), “Salim Langde Pe Mat Ro” (Saeed Akhtar Mirza), “Sati” (Aparna Sen) and “Wheel Chair” (Tapan Sinha).

The restoration work will be done in collaboration with Pixion Studios of Mumbai. And that is not all, NFDC, says Gupta, plans to take up restoration of even films produced by others once it finishes giving rebirth to its own films.

The effort comes in the backdrop of other similar projects by filmmakers across the globe, including Martin Scoresese-led World Cinema Foundation.

Cannes festival since the last three years have been lending a helping hand in that effort by screening several restored films every year.

In fact, Scoresese himself presented the restored “The Red Shoes” (1948, Britain) at the ongoing festival to a standing ovation.

WCF is also presenting four such restored films at Cannes this year: “Al Momia (The Night of Counting the Years)” by Egypt’s Shadi Abdel Alam (1969), “A Brighter Summer Day” by Taiwan’s Edward Yang (1991), “Redes (The Wave)” by Mexico’s Fred Zinnemann and Emilio Gomez Muriel (1936) and “Images From The Playground” by Sweden’s Stig Bjorkman (2009).

(Published in Deccan Herald, www.deccanherald.com, www.deccanheraldepaper.com, 24-05-2009)



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