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Wednesday, August 04, 2021

Rajkumar Hirani’s PK, among last celluloid films in India, now part of NFAI

At least 300 cans consisting of rushes of PK and outtakes of the 2009 film 3 Idiots as well as huge publicity material consisting of posters, lobby cards and photographs of films were also handed over for preservation.

By: Express News Service | Pune |
Updated: July 7, 2021 8:56:24 am
PK, written, edited and directed by Hirani and co-produced by Vidhu Vinod Chopra, happens to be one of the last few films to be shot on celluloid in India. (Source: NFAI)

The original camera negatives of Rajkumar Hirani’s comedy-drama PK are the latest addition to the archive at the National Film Archive of India (NFAI). The filmmaker handed over the negatives of the 2014 celluloid film to NFAI director Prakash Magdum on Tuesday in Mumbai.

“It was important to preserve the negative and I am very happy that it will be preserved in NFAI at Pune. It is the duty of a filmmaker to ensure that the films are preserved and I appeal to all filmmakers to support NFAI in this important cause,” said Hirani in an official statement.

At least 300 cans consisting of rushes of PK and outtakes of the 2009 film 3 Idiots as well as huge publicity material consisting of posters, lobby cards and photographs of films were also handed over for preservation. So far, original negatives of notable Hirani films like Munnabhai MBBS (2003), Lage Raho Munnabhai (2006) and 3 Idiots are already being preserved at NFAI.

“It is our endeavour to source and acquire real celluloid material for preservation. Rajkumar Hirani, an FTII alumni himself, has always been very cooperative in terms of preserving film material. The handover was to happen before the pandemic but it got delayed,” said Magdum.

PK, written, edited and directed by Hirani and co-produced by Vidhu Vinod Chopra, happens to be one of the last few films to be shot on celluloid in India. “Between 2013 and 2014 is when the transition from celluloid to digital occurred in India as far as filmmaking goes,” said Magdum.

Apart from film production, the shift from analog projection system to digital projection system also took place in terms of film exhibition, he added. “Hirani sir told me that almost 95 to 97 per cent of the film was shot on celluloid while the remaining was on digital. When the film was to be released, the film was first converted and then released on digital, as by then, the exhibition in India had become digital,” said Magdum.

Subsequently, a digital copy of Sanju, the 2018 biographical film that follows the life of actor Sanjay Dutt, will be handed over to NFAI, said Magdum.

Magdum said it is essential for the archive to look out for celluloid film material, which deteriorate if they are not saved in time and will thus pose further challenges in preservation.

“It is essential to preserve the original camera negatives as that is the best source possible for any use of the film. Secondly, an optimal dry and cool condition is required for preservation so that natural elements do not damage it. In order to intervene timely, our outreach is essential with stakeholders i.e. the filmmakers and production houses, so that these films can be preserved at the right time. Technology is changing rapidly and in this context, preserving film on film is very much the call of the hour,” he said.

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