Restored print of Garam Hawa to screen at IFFI on 25 November

MUMBAI: The Balraj Sahni-starrer Garm Hava, directed by M S Sathyu, considered a milestone in Indian cinema, that has been fully restored, will be screened at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) in Goa scheduled to go underway today.

According to IFFI officials, the film that also stars Geeta Siddharth, Farooq Shaikh, the late A K Hangal and Jalal Agha, will be screened on 25 November as part of commemoration of 100 years of Indian cinema.

The 1973 Hindi-Urdu classic based on an unpublished Urdu short story by Ismat Chughtai and adapted for screen by Kaifi Azmi, will also be released theatrically soon.

The film deals with the plight of a North Indian Muslim family post-Partition as the protagonist (Sahni) faces the dilemma of whether to move to Pakistan or stay back. One of the most poignant films ever made on the Partition, it was also India‘s official entry to the Oscars in 1974.

Since the film‘s negative was in a bad shape, Mumbai-based distributor Subhash Chheda who also runs a DVD label Rudraa Chheda proposed to Sathyu that he be given the responsibility of restoring of both the audio and video segments of the film to which the director easily obliged.

Thus began Chheda‘s two-year-long elaborate effort to have an upgraded 5.1 and Dolby mixed version of Garm Hava, which was almost lost in the annals of time.

"Restoration of a classic is very tricky and complex, as people remember the original movie forever - frame-by-frame, dialogue-by-dialogue, word-by-word," he says.

"The project stayed under the scanners of the best creative and technical experts around the world for about a year. Almost 2,00,000 frames of 2K resolution were observed by all these experts again and again. The restoration and post-restoration of the movie consumed more than 5,00,000 man-hours of our technical and creative team and terabytes of space of our computers," Chheda said in a statement.

However, no portion of the film has been deleted nor anything added. "Everything has merely been enhanced to give a complete theatrical experience to the modern viewer," Chedda concludes.

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