Offering a peek into the glorious past of Marathi Cinema of the 1940s and 50s, a collection of thousand precious photographs by veteran photographer SM Ajrekar has found its way to NFAI collection. Prakash Magdum, director, NFAI, termed the collection as extraordinary. Pointing out at the quality of these photographs, he said, “It is a really invaluable addition to NFAI’s ever-growing collection of Indian cinematic heritage.” The collection, donated by Shambhavi Bal, daughter of SM Ajrekar, was unveiled during a function on Tuesday.
He felicitated Bal, with a certificate of acknowledgement for his contributions towards the archival material at NFAI.
Ajrekar worked as a photographer in Pune for Navyug and Prabhat Film Company. Active between 1942 and 1956, Ajrekar had worked as a still photographer on several films. His major films include Jaga Bhadyane Dene Aahe (1949), Var Pahije (1950), Sharada (1951), Narveer Tanaji (1952), Een Meen Sadeteen (1954) and Teen Mule (1954).
Most of the photographs are printed with a matte finish and showcase his skill in playing with light and shade. His work has been preserved in a good condition without any damage.
Bal, speaking of her father, said, “Despite being talented, my father was never fond of being in the limelight. He was determined, as an artist, to passionately and sincerely work on every aspect of the job at hand and took his art very seriously. He also made it a point to nurture and preserve his work with utmost care, as if it were his own child.” Bal also revealed that her father liked to experiment with lighting and photography.
Magdum, on this occasion, also made an appeal to cine-lovers to come forward and contribute such material to NFAI for preservation, so that it can be saved for future generations.