The National Film Archive of India (NFAI) celebrated its 52nd Foundation Day on Monday. Established in February, 1964, the centre strives to trace, aquire and preserve the heritage of Indian as well as World cinema. Monday’s event saw the screening of glimpses of the centre’s new aquisitions and an exhibition depicting its evolution over the past 51 years.
Speaking on the occasion, Prakash Magdum, Director, NFAI said, “We’re throughly pleased by the presence of our former employees on this occasion. It is indeed satisfying to see the success of NFAI over the last 51 years. Since our foundation, we’ve always asked people to lend us support and recently there has been a noticeable rise in the support. A person has given us seven archival films. With such generous donors, we’ll expand in size as well as prestige.”
Due to his ill health, PK Nair, founder director of NFAI, wasn’t able to attend the occasion. But his absence was filled by Suresh Chabria, who served as the centre’s director from 1992-98. “When one does research on Indian Cinema, he or she has to come to NFAI. From the days when everything was in celluloid to the days when everything is digital, we’ve taken a big leap. But, still most of out archival content is available in 35 mm. Several Western countries have switched to the digital format years ago. And I’m optimistic that we’ll soon adopt a similar policy,” he said.
Magdum declared that Jaykar bunglow will soon be restored and the storage facilities at NFAI expanded to make room for more films. Three films were screened including the recently acquired version of Bengali Devdas of PC Barua (1935) and nitrate version of Palnati Yuddham starring Akkineni Nageswara Rao. A documentary on NFAI, made by Uday Shankar Pani in 1974, was also screened.
At present, NFAI has a large collection of Indian cinema. It contains more than 1,30,014 still photographs, 16,474 posters, 11,474 song booklets, lobby cards, press clippings and old disc records. Its library holds about 25,000 books on cinema published across the globe.