A treasure without value?
Sunday, December 23, 2007 23:47 IST
Despite a fire scare, the government is yet to assess and insure film memorabilia lying in the National Film Archives
It’s a veritable treasure trove of invaluable Indian film memorabilia - right from the era of silent films to current cinema - and it is housed at the the National Film Archives of India (NFAI) in Pune. While everyonce agrees that it’s inventory, which includes original posters of some of India’s first films, is invaluable neither has there been an attempt to properly assess its worth and neither has it been insured. And that’s despite a fire scare in 2003 that almost wiped out the museum.
“As far as insurance is concerned, there were a few proposals mooted back when the NFAI caught fire in 2003, but not much has come out of it. Nor has there ever been any evaluation of our collection. Abroad of course, film memorabilia is valued quite highly,” says K S Sasidharan, director, NFAI.
While the institution has acquired and restored some memorable pieces of India’s film journey, right from Dadasaheb Phalke’s video account of the making of his ‘Raja Harishchandra’ to the ceritificate of merit received by ‘Sant Tukaram’ at the 1936 Venice Film festival, there is still no serious effort to protect this legacy.
“We have evidence of the beginning of India’s film revolution, but even preserving what we have is not easy. To preserve such prints, you require top of the line infrastructure. Right from the silent era to Dadasaheb Phalke and Hunterwali, we have some very rare prints and film posters. Archiving films is not a very easy job. We have built a new facility costing more than ten crores to preserve these gems. But whether or not they are insured is a matter to be decided by the government,” adds Sasidharan.
Talk about the work of collecting, restoring and preserving our film heritage here.