Posts Tagged ‘Shivendra Singh Dungarpur’

FPRSI POSTCARD 100914

Film Heritage Foundation has announced its first major initiative to save India’s cinematic heritage – Film Preservation & Restoration School India – to be held from February 22nd -28th, 2015 at Films Division, Mumbai.

Film Heritage Foundation is a not for profit organization set up by filmmaker Shivendra Singh Dungarpur in 2014. Recognizing the urgent need to preserve India’s cinematic heritage, the foundation is dedicated to supporting the conservation, preservation and restoration of the moving image and to develop interdisciplinary educational programs that will use film as an educational tool and create awareness about the language of cinema.

This is a pioneering initiative of Film Heritage Foundation in collaboration with Martin Scorsese’s Film Foundation, Cineteca di Bologna and L’Immagine Ritrovata.

Film Preservation & Restoration School, India

– The school is set up in collaboration with Martin Scorsese’s Film Foundation, Cineteca di Bologna, L’Immagine Ritrovata and FIAF.

– Date : It will take place from February 22nd – 28th, 2015 in Mumbai. This is a unique project that is being done in India for the first time.

– The purpose of the school is to address current issues surrounding film preservation and restoration including practical training of current restoration and archival best practices by a faculty that includes some of the leading international experts in the field.

– The week-long course itself will consist of lectures/presentations followed by interactive sessions with experts on film archiving and preservation from the foremost archives and studios around the world, screenings of restored classics and ten modules on film restoration including hands-on training in the latest techniques that will be conducted by a technical team from L’Immagine Ritrovata, a state-of-the-art film restoration lab that has restored landmark films of Chaplin, Fellini, Ozu and Ritwik Ghatak amongst others.

– Application forms are available online on the website: www.filmheritagefoundation.co.in

– The deadline for submitting the application form: November 30th, 2014

– Participation Fees : Rs. 50,000/- plus applicable service tax for Indian students. 1000 USD plus applicable taxes for overseas student. (The fee includes lunch and two tea/coffee breaks with snacks every day from February 23rd – 28th, 2015. The fee also includes a closing dinner at the end of the school)

– Scholarship : A few scholarships will be available for deserving students. Selected canditates will be notified.

– Selected applicants will have to start with online preparatory material that will be made available to them from January 14th – February 18th, 2015.

– More details  in the Application Form and on the website.

–  Contact : Film Heritage Foundation 707, Arun Chambers, Tardeo Road, Mumbai – 400 034. India

Contact person: Mr. Jayant Patel
Email: fprsi_app@filmheritagefoundation.co.in

Tel: +91 22 67367777

– This will be the first step for a long-term goal to create an indigenous resource of archivists, conservation and restoration experts that will work towards protecting India’s cinematic heritage.

Martin Scorsese’s Letter Of Support

Details, Collaborators, Preservation Facts

ApprovedCelluloudMan

Pain is temporary, film is forever” – Michael J. Fox

Unfortunately, it is not. And neither are memories, both die, if not carefully preserved. Without memories, the past is a blank slate, existing in a space where we cannot touch it. Without a past we are a blank slate, forever trapped in a present that makes little sense. Films, like all our art, keeps our past safe, for us to delve into and understand how we came this far and, more importantly, where to go from here.

P.K. Nair understood this and scraped together our largely dissipated past, bit by bit, literally from across the country’s landscape and even beyond. What I felt when I heard that was sheer awe. And awe-inspiring is everything about Shivendra Singh Dungarpur’s documentary, “Celluloid Man”.

The film is the centre of attention right now, thanks to a much-deserved release (a shout out to the rare PVR Rare!), the National Awards, the Cannes selection and especially the centenary of our much-maligned yet much-beloved Hindi Film Industry. Much has been written about it so I’d like to simply share what the film did to me instead.

I like watching documentaries in the theatre. Especially our Indian docus which, by default, generally have a rusty appeal that somehow get an exotic aura in the hall. I also like everything old and forgotten; its romance and nostalgia, and the bitter-sweet pain that memories always bring with them. Celluloid Man, smelling of museums and ruins, was tailor-made for me. I walked in with the same excitement, same anticipation I had while watching Hugo, except that this was a bit more personal. This was about history that was specifically ‘mine’.

I settled down and there was this old, decrepit man detailing first-hand, his journey of collecting films and teaching a stubborn India the importance of preserving its history. How he salvaged the print of Dadasaheb Phalke’s ‘Kaliya Mardan’ and put the film together with little besides Phalke’s small notebook and his own diligence. How he travelled to remote corners of the country to collect film negatives, even bits. How Ardeshir Irani’s son confessed to having sold his father’s negatives for silver extraction. How he made prints of films that came to FTII for screening without bothering about permission. How he bargained and bartered copies of Indian films for foreign ones. His meeting with Langlois of Paris’ Cinematheque (I particularly loved how unimpressed he was about the meeting with what seemed-like a rather stuffy Langlois purely from the way Nair saab relates the meeting). And how much he now misses being close to what was probably the only love of his life, films.

But that was not all. The legendary man has a legendary memory of the location of every scene in every film he has archived. The NFAI under him collected 12,000 films, 8000 Indian and 4000 foreign. The mind boggles, yes. But that is not all, as he walked around FTII he also recollected memories of the old Prabhat Studios effortlessly. Of a certain make-up room at the then Prabhat Studios and now FTII campus that was Madhubala’s favourite. Of a certain wooden floor having a tank underneath to convert it for outdoor water sequences. Of the sturdy equipment still in use. Of Prabhat Studios being modelled on the best of Hollywood indoor studios. His memory and appetite for trivia seemed as marvellous as his legacy.

Even more marvellous was to watch the number of lives he touched. Lives of the very people who have created our celluloid history. It was immensely humbling to watch each one of them speak ever-so-warmly about their association with him. Of Girish Kasavaralli recalling how his thoroughly neglected Ghattashraddha was restored and archived. Of Jahnua Barua talking of how Nair saab helped him out by giving him a much-need job which he suspects was an unofficial arrangement. Of an aged Jaya Bachchan recalling with the pride of a young student how she was the only girl allowed for night screenings because Nair saab vouched for her dedication. Of Naseeruddin Shah gleefully talking of surreptitious screenings of censored cuts. Of Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s awe at being handed the print of Godard’s Breathless to study for as long as he wished. He came across as this strict Guru, dedicated to authentic instruction and learning, willing to go to any lengths to open up a student’s horizons if he sensed the hunger. And of Gulzar saab warmly (rightly) placing him next to Dadasaheb Phalke in importance to our film history.

mini-still_celluloid_man_2

The film packed in bytes with so many important film personalities, right from Sitara Devi, that it felt like some sort of a masterclass in itself. Maybe it is to accommodate their presence then, it has a loose structure. It pans out as a long-winded stroll down memory lane piecing together the painstaking effort of Nair saab’s work with the sole purpose of celebrating the man and his achievements through his and other’s eyes. I didn’t mind the rather meandering and sometimes repetitive narrative solely because this is one film that proves Roger Ebert wrong. The ‘what’ matters more than the ‘how’. Besides, where do you ever get to listen to the likes of Adoor Gopalkrishnan, Kumar Shahani, Gulzar saab, Saeed Mirza and Shyam Benegal at length, at one place?

The film is an unabashed ode, yet, Shivendra Singh Dungarpur takes care to include controversies surrounding the exclusion of Nair saab post his retirement. Neither does he shy away from asking him a tough question, framing his habit of making copies without permission as ‘stealing’. And keeping the camera rolling through an uncomfortable silence and a louder repetition of the question. It could have been edited out but it wasn’t.

He also goes beyond the purview of Nair saab’s work, into his personal life to give us a better glimpse of the man. Unacknowledged, but I was dreading this part. When have men with a singular passion ever had happy personal lives? What followed were long and touchingly forthcoming interviews with Beena Nair, his daughter who confessed how father was never available during her and her brother’s childhood. But now things had changed as she had accepted that it wasn’t lack of love for them but too much love for films that kept him away. I didn’t want to look at her face closely or read her emotions because it seemed like a preciously personal part of her past she was sharing, who am I to peek into someone’s pain? It touched a raw nerve nevertheless. Having an emotionally unavailable parent isn’t easy, I have one. Besides, there is this incident from childhood sharply imprinted on my memory that it sruck. My father is a huge fan of the Gujarati shayar/poet Mareez. He quotes him off-handedly at any point with a look of pure bliss. Once, he had the opportunity to meet him, that too at his home. My gushing dad asked Mareez to recite a few lines for him and Mareez saab obliged. After the recital, his daughter came forward and thanked my father and said something like, ‘Thanks to you we heard father’s poetry today. He never shares anything with us, ever. He is in his own world, it’s like we don’t exist.’ As a child I understood the girl, as an older person with a few insistent passions of her own, I understand Mareez and Nair saab too today. Passion does that. Separates you from everything. You are alone in it, because there you are already with that one thing you love, you don’t need anyone else.

In more than two hours, what I saw unfold onscreen was a meta experience. A while into the film and it became difficult for me to distinguish between Nair’s passion for films and Dungarpur’s for Nair saab’s work. Because, passion, after all has only one language and if you speak it you understand it and Shivendra Singh Dungarpur clearly does. It made me emotional to see that kind of drive for something considered unimportant and a mere commodity. Because, in my eyes, what the two men had done was save me a chunk of my history, not only as culture but as art via the very medium I love so much. How can I thank them enough for that?

I am leaving you with some of the quotes from the film that stayed with me. (might not be verbatim)

You can see a hundred years from now; you can see a certain aspect of life which was there only at the time, on that day. It means a lot. It means more than Greek Tragedy where everything is heightened beyond compare. But those very small things get so beautifully manifest (on film). It is the very, I think, soul of art of any kind.” -Kumar Shahani

(It is important for us to preserve our past because) “We have a rich past but a very poor history, whereas the West has a significant past. (Perhaps) Not a rich past, but a very significant history.” – U. R. Ananthamurthy

Before P.K.Nair, there was no one else. After P.K. Nair there is no one else.” – Shyam Benegal

As an archivist I cannot accept that we have lost forever the print of Raja Harishchandra”. – P.K. Nair

As a film lover, I cannot accept that either. But at least we had Nair saab.

I don’t remember the last time I felt so raw while watching a film.

FATEMA KAGALWALA

ApprovedCelluloudMan

We don’t have a culture of documenting our history.

We don’t have a history of making great documentaries.

We don’t have documentaries on our “real heroes”.

And this is why Shivendra Singh Dungarpur’s Celluloid Man is such an important film, which stands tall on those three parameters. It’s about a real hero who has documented our cinematic history, and it’s a documentary on his life and passion.

I had missed the screening few times in the past and finally managed to catch it recently. The name is P.K.Nair. His designation sounds even boring – Archivist. Sounds almost clerical – someone who archives stuff. What separates Mister Nair from his designation and the rest is just one thing – passion. And this film does complete justice to that man and his undying passion for cinema.

Chances are you might not have heard his name if you have not been to FTII or not friends with FTII graduates. He is the man responsible for National Film Archive Of India, popularly known as NFAI. Starting literally from scratch, P K Nair built it up slowly – reel by reel, can by can, film by film. No wonder that you ask him about a scene and he can tell you which reel and which can has it. Celluloid Man is his story – how he built NFAI, the way he travelled to various places in search of those rare films which most didn’t care about.

The film runs on two tracks. One traces Nair’s personal story – starting from Nair’s childhood in Kerala to how he wanted to become filmmaker and how he landed up at FTII and started NFAI. Some of the well known faces from FTII recount their younger days at the Institute and talk about Nair saab. And then you realise that his contribution is much more than just being an archivist. It’s about shaping up those young bright minds.

The other one is about building NFAI – this has intersecting anecdotes about collecting those precious films by travelling to remote places, and sometimes even opting for illegal routes for a greater cause. Dungarpur balances it well by scratching the uncomfortable surface too – was it one-upmanship, why NFAI is hostile to Nair now and such.

It feels bit long at the running duration of more than 2 hours (2:24 exactly i think, not sure which version is releasing), and the director’s sudden voice-over feels odd which doesn’t gel well with the film as the rest of it is through Nair saab’s words. But those are just minor issues in this mammoth task of documenting this important part of our cultural history so beautifully. If you are film lover, WATCH IT. If you are not, watch it just to know how to define Passion and Commitment.

The initial portions of the film is shot gorgeously, almost like a dream, feels some kind of daze. And then there’s a heartbreaking surreal sequence of silver being extracted from film reels by those who understand only commerce. The horror! Horror! i shouted in my head.

And this film could not have come at a better time. If there’s one person who needs to be celebrated at the occasion of 100 years of cinema, it’s Nair saab. If nothing else, at least this documentary serves that purpose. Thanks, Shivendra.

– The film is being released by PVR Directors Rare on May 3rd. Don’t Miss this one.

– To know more about the film, click here.

– DearCinema has a detailed review of the film from IFFLA. Click here to read.

(PS – My fav quote is about gym in FTII. I guess that says a lot about our current cinema too)

@CilemaSnob

After its premiere at the Telluride Film festival, Shivendra Singh Dungarpur’s documentary, Celluloid Man will soon be screened at the Mumbai Film Festival. Here’s the first teaser of the film.

Here’s more on the film from its official FB page…

Celluloid Man is a tribute to an extraordinary man called Mr. P.K. Nair, the founder of the National Film Archive of India, and the guardian of Indian cinema. He built the Archive can by can in a country where the archiving of cinema is considered unimportant.

The fact that the Archive still has nine precious silent films of the 1700 silent films made in India, and that Dadasaheb Phalke, the father of Indian cinema, has a place in history today is because of Mr. Nair. He influenced generations of Indian filmmakers and showed us new worlds through the prism of cinema.

As Mr. Nair speaks, we see the history of Indian cinema unfold. What emerges is a portrait of a man so in love with cinema that even his family had to take a backseat to his obsession. Mr. Nair is not just the founder of the National Film Archive, but a living, breathing museum of cinema. Even in retirement, he chooses to stay across the road from the Archive watching over his legacy. The fact that India has a cinematic heritage at all is the singlehanded achievement of this man.

He is truly India’s Celluloid Man. There will be no one like him again.

Cinematography: Santosh Thundiyil, K.U. Mohanan, Avik Mukhopadhyay, P.S. Vinod, H.M. Ramachandra, R.V. Ramani, Vikas Sivaraman, Mahesh Aney, Kiran Deohans, Ranjan Palit, V.Gopinath

Editor: Irene Dhar Malik

Sound Design: Mohandas

Music: Ram Sampath

Titles/Online: Huzefa Lokhandwala, Santosh Sabherwal

Associate Director & Research: Manju Parvathy Iyer

Post Production: Pixion, Prime Focus. Processing: Kodak, EFX Prasad

– 35mm; English with Subtitles; Duration: 163 mins

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1; Dolby 5.1; Colour / B&W

To know more about the film, click here for its Facebook page.

Telluride Film Festival has finally unveiled its line-up for this year. And Shivendra Singh Dungarpur’s documentary film “Celluloid Man : A Film on P K Nair” will have its screening at the fest. According to official release, it will be part of Telluride’s intimate screening room which features behind-the-scenes movies and portraits of artists, musicians and filmmakers.

(Click on the pics to enlarge)

Here’s more on the film from its official FB page…

Celluloid Man is a tribute to an extraordinary man called Mr. P.K. Nair, the founder of the National Film Archive of India, and the guardian of Indian cinema. He built the Archive can by can in a country where the archiving of cinema is considered unimportant.

The fact that the Archive still has nine precious silent films of the 1700 silent films made in India, and that Dadasaheb Phalke, the father of Indian cinema, has a place in history today is because of Mr. Nair. He influenced generations of Indian filmmakers and showed us new worlds through the prism of cinema.

As Mr. Nair speaks, we see the history of Indian cinema unfold. What emerges is a portrait of a man so in love with cinema that even his family had to take a backseat to his obsession. Mr. Nair is not just the founder of the National Film Archive, but a living, breathing museum of cinema. Even in retirement, he chooses to stay across the road from the Archive watching over his legacy. The fact that India has a cinematic heritage at all is the singlehanded achievement of this man.

He is truly India’s Celluloid Man. There will be no one like him again.

Cinematography: Santosh Thundiyil, K.U. Mohanan, Avik Mukhopadhyay, P.S. Vinod, H.M. Ramachandra, R.V. Ramani, Vikas Sivaraman, Mahesh Aney, Kiran Deohans, Ranjan Palit, V.Gopinath

Editor: Irene Dhar Malik

Sound Design: Mohandas

Music: Ram Sampath

Titles/Online: Huzefa Lokhandwala, Santosh Sabherwal

Associate Director & Research: Manju Parvathy Iyer

Post Production: Pixion, Prime Focus. Processing: Kodak, EFX Prasad

– 35mm; English with Subtitles; Duration: 163 mins

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1; Dolby 5.1; Colour / B&W

To know more about the film, click here for its Facebook page.

We all know about Miss Lovely, Gangs Of Wasseypur and Peddlers going to the Cannes. But apart from these three films, there’s a very important Indian film which will be at the festival this year – Uday Shankar’s 1948 classic film Kalpana. The restored print of Kalpana will be screened in the Cannes Classics section.
The other important films in the Classics section this year includes Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a time in America, Roman Polanski’s Tess, Spielberg’s Jaws, The Ring by Alfred Hitchcock, David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia and Runaway Train by Andrei Konchalovsky. Since we really don’t have a habit and culture of preserving our cinema, i was wondering how did this happen. Then through a common friend i got to know about ad filmmaker Shivendra Singh Dungarpur, who is instrumental in making it happen. I asked him to share his experience on the same and he happily obliged. Read on.

I’ve been attending a festival called Il Cinema Ritrovato in Bologna, Italy for the last few years. This is a festival of restored films and it really amazed me what fantastic work they were doing at the restoration lab in Bologna. They work very closely with the World Cinema Foundation (WCF) headed by Martin Scorsese, who have been doing remarkable work restoring films from all around the world. Last year one of the representatives from WCF mentioned to me that they had been trying to get an Indian film called “Kalpana” directed by Uday Shankar for restoration. They had been trying for almost three years to get the film cans out of India, but they had not been able to do it for various reasons and they had given up.

I had seen Kalpana at a private screening that I had paid for at the Archive in Pune and I knew it was an extraordinary film especially from the point of view of dance and the use of light. I promised the WCF that I would get the film for them to restore, but they were sceptical given their previous experience. Even I didn’t anticipate the extent that I would have to run from pillar to post for this.

I knew the Shankar family and that I was working very closely with the National Film Archive of India (NFAI) for my documentary on P.K. Nair called “Celluloid Man.” I met Amala Shankar (Uday Shankar’s wife) in Kolkata along with her daughter Mamata Shankar and daughter-in-law Tanusree Shankar . I had to request them to procure a legal opinion from their lawyer as there was some litigation regarding the rights of the film that needed to be clarified before WCF could go ahead with the restoration. After a lot of persuasion and several trips to Pune, the NFAI also agreed after I showed them a letter from Martin Scorsese stating that I represented the WCF in this matter and on the condition that I took the onus of sending the cans to Italy and ensured their return. So in a matter of a few months, I managed to send the film to Bologna from my office in Mumbai. In fact, I am responsible for the negative.

I’ve been hearing great reports on the restoration and the lab in Bologna worked round the clock to ensure that they could premier the restored version of Kalpana at the Cannes Classic section. The WCF have very kindly invited me and Amala Shankar for the premier and we will walk the red carpet at 6.30 p.m. on May 17 before the premier. Amalaji is 94 years old and she is thrilled to travel to Cannes and walk the red carpet to see the only film made by her husband in which she played the main role.

At Cannes I have also been invited to see the restored version of Sergei Leone’s “Once Upon a Time in America”. As I am a donor for the restoration of Hitchcock’s film “The Lodger”, the British Film Institute has invited me to a screening of their restoration of Hitchcock’s silent film “The Ring” with live accompaniment.

In the West, there is a strong culture of preservation and restoration of films that India completely lacks. This is a shame given what a great cinematic history we have. This is what inspired me to make my documentary “Celluloid Man” on P.K. Nair, the founder of the National Film Archive of India. Mr. Nair singlehandedly built the Archive. It’s thanks to him that film students from the Film Institute, Pune like me had the opportunity to see the work of great filmmakers like Ozu, Tarkovsky, Fellini, etc. My film is a tribute to Mr. Nair and his life’s work and somewhere I hope people will realize how important it is to collect and restore our films.

One of the main reasons, I pushed so hard for Kalpana to be restored is that I am hoping that other Indian films will also get chosen for restoration. As a matter of fact, the lab in Bologna wants to restore Ritwik Ghatak’s “Meghe Daka Tara” and have asked me to help them raise the funding. I am hoping the Indian film fraternity or corporate houses will come forward so we don’t have to rely on the West.

(PS – To know more about the film and why it’s such a big deal, you can read this and this post.)

Aamir Khan & Katrina Kaif

So is Aamir Khan all ready for the Guru Dutt biopic ? Well, he still has to say yes to the film. Ad filmmaker Shivendra Singh Dungarpur has approached Aamir for the same and Anurag Kashyap is writing the script. Nothing has been finalised so far. But it seems he doesn’t mind bit of dress rehearsal. The pic is from the cover of Cineblitz magazine. Aamir Khan as Guru Dutt, hmmm, ok, we don’t have much choice. But Katrina Kaif as Waheeda Rehman ? WTF!! We can’t be so desperate. Just look at her. If only make up & photoshop could get the right expressions. Huh!

And here is the original one.

Pyaasa pic

Talking of Guru Dutt, here is an absolute favourite pic from his other classic Kagaz Ke Phool. So much expression packed in a pic. Aha…pure magic! Waheeda Rehman may keep on denying everything, from scratch to finish, but then how do you get such expressions ? Just acting. Rumours for her, life & death for him. They don’t make them like him any more.

Kagaz Ke Phool