Never seen before photographs of the early Indian film industry from the late German cinematographer Josef Wirsching are being compiled into a photobook
(This is one of the rarest and earliest images of Himanshu Rai, Devika Rani and Ashok Kumar, the early doyens of the “Bombay Talkies” Film studios, together in one single image. Taken during a lunch break on an outdoor shoot from the filming of “Izzat” in 1937)
The Wirsching family, who are the only heirs to the late German cinematographer Josef Wirsching, have been in possession of Josef’s extensive personal photographic collection comprising of thousands of photographic negatives and prints from Josef’s years of work in the German and Indian film industries and many hundreds of images specifically depicting the early years of “Bollywood”. They want to compile these into a one of a kind photo book.
The family is crowd funding this project through the Mumbai based crowd funding website “Wishberry” and they are looking to raise funds to publish and print a minimum production run of 500 collector’s edition books which will be launched at a public exhibition in Goa by December 2016. The exhibition will comprise of 100 A1 sized Art prints of the best images which will be included in the book.
“After years of inventorying and archiving the images in the collection; we are now putting together a highly detailed and visually rich collector’s edition picture book which will have never seen before images of publicity and production stills from most of the “Bollywood” related movies that my Grandfather has worked on through his film making career.” Georg Wirsching, Grandson and artist elaborates.
These images span right from Josef’s work in the iconic silent film “The Light of Asia” shot in 1925 continuing on through the start of the talkies era with “Bombay Talkies” Film studios in Bombay during the mid 30’s till the last production he was involved with for “Kamal Amrohi” Film studios’ landmark film “Pakeezha”.
The images in the book will be supported by detailed historically accurate essays being contributed by a trio of writers who are well versed with the history of this genre. These essays will touch upon the personal aspects of Josef’s life as detailed by his only son Wolfgang Peter Wirsching, while the renowned former editor of the Times of India- Dileep Padgaonkar will be detailing the history of Josef’s work, life and times based on his years of extensive research into the genre. Assistant professor of Asian studies at New York’s Columbia University- Debashree Mukherjee will be detailing Josef’s cinematic contributions and how his work decades ago helped influence our present view of “Bollywood”.
– For further details regarding the project please check out the family’s web site www.wirschingarchive.com and their Facebook page www.facebook.com/wirschingarchive Or their twitter account at www.twitter.com/WirschingArch
– The crowd funding project is currently live until 14th Nov 2015 at this link www.wishberry.in/campaign/bollywoods-german-origins/
(Pic Courtesy – From Wirsching Archive FB page)