Movies

Four Tagore films being restored

MUMBAI:Who can forget the Manna Dey crooned number ‘Aye mere pyare watan’ from Bimal Roy’s Kabuliwala made in 1961 under the direction of Hemen Gupta? The film, written by Nobel laurette Rabindranath Tagore, not only made people sit up and understand the plight of Kabuliwalas, it further embellished the career of Balraj Sahani.


Almost half a century later, the National Film Archives of India (NFAI) and the Government of India do not have a single negative or
print of the film.


Recently, the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) has sourced a televised format of the film from the producer’s family that is being restored in studios in Mumbai and Pune.


“The film will be released in DVD format as part of the 150th birth anniversary celebrations of Tagore this year. The audience needs to see these iconic films in the new formats,” says NFDC managing director Neena Gupta, who has undertaken the project under the direction of the Ministry of Culture.


Besides Kabuliwala, other films being restored are Char Adhyaya, Khudito Pashan and Natir Puja, a silent film directed by Tagore himself. Most of these were lying in film archives across India before NFDC decided to restore them last year. If Natir Puja came from the West Bengal State Film Corporation, Char Adhyaya and Khudito Pashan were at storage vaults in NFAI.


The process being painstaking, the work has been delegated to several studios. Taking care of the video restoration is Mumbai-based Avitel Post Studioz that is responsible for removing the chemical stains and scratches from three of the four films. Unlike the talkies that are being restored in Avitel Studioz, the video restoration of Natir Puja is being done at Pixion Studios. Fifteen other technicians at Pune’s Cameo Digital Labs are busy working on the audio restoration of the same film.

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