I&B plans to invest Rs 6 bn in restoring 6000 movies

NEW DELHI: The Informaton and Broadcasting Ministry plans to invest close to Rs 2 billion in restoring 2000 movies.

An additional Rs 4 billion will be pumped in to restore a further 4000 movies in the second phase, a senior official of the I&B Ministry told

Falling under the ambit of the National Film Heritage Mission, the plan is to also digitise around 8000 movies. The Planning Commission has allocated Rs 6.6 billion as an initial grant to the National Film Heritage Mission.

The Government is keen to preserve the history of Indian cinema and feels this should be done in the next few years as the centenary of Indian cinema will be marked in 2013, exactly 100 years after the country’s first indigenous feature film, Raja Harishchandra, was produced by DG Phalke.

A report is being prepared by the Ministry in this connection, and the proposal will include acquisition of films and film artifacts in private hands.

"Restoration can cost anything between Rs 800,000 to Rs one million per movie," the source added.

Artifacts, posters, vintage equipments, costumes, properties, and stills and other materials will be kept at the Museum (tentatively titled Museum of the Moving Image) which is coming up in a heritage building, Gulshan Mahal, (built in 1834) in the Films Division Complex in Mumbai.

Asked if the Division would administer the museum when it is ready, the official said since it was coming up in that premise, the charge had initially been given to the Films Division. The government has allocated Rs 1.164 billion for setting up the Museum.

The aim is to make the museum an interactive one and it should gradually become the hub of film activity in the country. The new museum block will house cinema theatres, an amphitheatre, a demo studio and store space.

The National Buildings Construction Corporation and the National Council of Science Museums were also collaborating in the project.

The Ministry has started the process of collecting such classic film properties, according to National Film Archives, Pune, director Vijay Jadav.

Meanwhile, the Films Division plans to restore a total of 2,650 films, of which 1,450 belong to the ‘silent era’ and 200 that are on video format. There are as many as 200 films (400 reels of 4,000 minutes‘ duration) that have decomposed due to fungal infection and will require digital restoration at a cost of Rs 300 million.

NFAI that has a collection of 6,000 films has already restored 48 films and digitised 148 others in 2009-2010. Doordarshan is already in the process of restoring most of its software.

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