MUMBAI—Film Heritage Foundation, the brainchild of filmmaker-archivist Shivendra Singh Dungarpur, is the only non-government film archive in India and the only other Indian member of the International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF) besides the National Film Archive of India (NFAI).
The organization will release its second publication, “Yesterday’s Films For Tomorrow,” a compilation of the writings of film archivist the late P.K. Nair, edited by Rajesh Devraj, at the hands of its brand ambassador Amitabh Bachchan on Apr. 6 in Mumbai. Naseeruddin Shah will read extracts from the book, and Dungarpur, Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Govind Nihalani, Shyam Benegal and Anurag Kashyap will speak on occasion.
Dungarpur had earlier made an award-winning documentary “Celluloid Man” that paid tribute to India’s legendary archivist P.K. Nair while celebrating the history of Indian cinema and making a fervent plea for its preservation and restoration. The film won two National awards and traveled to over fifty festivals around the world including Telluride, New York, Rotterdam, Hong Kong and Shanghai.
The current book seems a natural progression to bring to life the writings of the man who made a difference in the lives of many of India’s successful film directors.
Dungarpur said, “This is our second publication. The earlier one “From Darkness Into Light,” was the first book in India on film preservation and restoration. When Nair-saheb left his personal files, journals, and diaries to our Foundation, we realized this precious material would make a great book that would archive his words for posterity as well as be a rich source of information for film-lovers, academics, students, and researchers. We felt there could be no more fitting tribute to a man who in his lifetime was a living, breathing museum of cinema.”
Added Bachchan, the brand ambassador of Film Heritage Foundation, “The book is a commendable initiative of the Film Heritage Foundation. They are the custodians of the P.K. Nair Archive, and by publishing this book, they have made this valuable material available to the public. I am very happy to have been invited to release this unique book on cinema written by a person who devoted his life selflessly to saving our film history.”
Shah, who will read excerpts from the book at the launch, termed it “A special book that begins from the magical experience of Nair-saab watching his first film when he was eight; his incredible efforts in rescuing the early works of Phalke and his obsession for collecting and preserving films for posterity. I think it is wonderful that Film Heritage Foundation is keeping his memory alive by publishing this book as his contribution to Indian cinema is immense and should not be forgotten.”
Said Vidhu Vinod Chopra, “Whatever I have learned in cinema, I learned it from Mr. P.K. Nair. He was the best teacher I ever had. I helped in the production of this book as my debt to Mr. Nair’s contribution, to my life and to the lives of many such filmmakers.”
Film Heritage Foundation was established in 2014. The foundation is dedicated to supporting the conservation, preservation, and restoration of the moving image and developing interdisciplinary educational programs that will use films as an educational tool and create awareness about the language of cinema. The board of advisors includes Shyam Benegal, Gulzar, Jaya Bachchan, Kumar Shahani, Girish Kasaravalli, Gian Luca Farinelli, Krzyszt of Zanussi and Mark Cousins.
The Foundation has a growing collection of films and non-filmy material and is the custodian of the material from many eminent film personalities including J.B.H. Wadia, A.R. Kardar, Kidar Sharma and Pran all the way to Saeed Mirza, Kundan Shah, Onir, Govind Nihalani and Vishal Bhardwaj.