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Friday, April 16, 2021

Renovation during pandemic: Historic Prabhat Studios at FTII wears new look after repairs

Prabhat Studios is also the world's oldest functional studio, where student projects are still shot. It was the pandemic that brought such activity to a standstill and allowed the authorities to carry out repairs.

Written by Dipanita Nath | Pune |
Updated: March 11, 2021 12:50:24 pm
Historic Prabhat Studio at FTII is under renovation. Camera lights and other equipment have shifted to studio number 2 temporarily. Express photograph by Arul Horizon.

DELAYED BY the Covid-19 pandemic, renovation work on the historic Prabhat Studios at Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) got underway earlier this year and the section, where lights, costumes and property would be stored, wears a new look. “The initial plan was to repair affected sections of Prabhat Studios for FTII’s Diamond Jubilee in 2020. Because of the pandemic, however, labour was in short supply all through last year and we could not proceed as planned,” said Bhupendra Kainthola, director, FTII.

Prabhat Studios is also the world’s oldest functional studio, where student projects are still shot. It was the pandemic that brought such activity to a standstill and allowed the authorities to carry out repairs. “This work was pending for 60 years, ever since FTII was set up. The back-to-back work of students earlier did not allow us the option to stop filming activity and carry out repairs,” he said.

The lights, cameras and costumes from the iconic Studio Number One were moved to Studio Number Two before plastering and whitewashing work could commence. Walls and floors have now been repaired, without affecting the heritage structure. Lights were cleaned out and painted. A track trolley, used during shoots, has been repaired and new track trolleys have been procured.

Express photograph by Arul Horizon.

“There is a water tank inside the studio, which is used for shooting scenes with water bodies. It is almost 90 years old, built at the same time as the studio, and its drainage system got choked over the years. Whenever we needed the tank, we had to use pumps to drain the water. Now, we are restoring the old drainage so that whenever it has to be filled up or emptied, it can be done easily,” Kainthola said.

Camera lights and other equipment have shifted to studio number 2 temporarily. Express photograph by Arul Horizon

The renovation will continue in a phased manner. The first and second floor visitor decks, which have wooden planks, are going to be repaired next.

“The old wooden planks will be taken out and replaced with new planks so that the structure is safe,” said the director, adding that the repairs were minor and cost only a few lakh rupees.

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