NEW DELHI: The long-in-the-making National Museum of Indian Cinema (NMIC) showcasing India's rich film heritage over the past 100 years will finally open in Mumbai next week to coincide with the Mumbai International Film Festival for shorts, documentaries and animation films.
Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Minister Manish Tewari will be the chief guest at the opening of the Festival on 3 February.
“As the Indian cinema enters a new century, the national museum of Indian cinema coming up in Mumbai is a small tribute of the Ministry to the great film heritage of India. We have also launched a Rs-600 crore National Film Heritage Mission to digitise best of Indian cinematic works and archive them for the benefit of future generations," said Tewari recently while outlining various steps taken by the government to promote cinema in India.
The Minister also reviewed the preparations for the museum's inauguration with Films Division officials and experts. The inauguration will coincide with the Mumbai International Film Festival for short, documentary and animation films that commences on 3 February.
The National Museum of Indian Cinema is situated in the 6,000 square-foot Gulshan Mahal - a heritage building on Pedder Road in South Mumbai. Gulshan Mahal's interiors have been refurbished to house an interactive walkthrough down cinema's memory lane. It is part of a larger complex of 50,000 sqft that will come up in phases.
The museum will be a ready-reckoner of the history of Indian cinema showcasing technological aspects of production and screening of films, as well as its social aspects during the past 100 years. Through its interactive galleries, it will trace the evolution of celluloid from the Lumiere Brothers, Raja Harishchandra onwards, and showcase Indian cinema in three stages – silent era, golden era and the modern era. It will portray the footsteps taken by Indian cinema, from the period of silent films to the studio period, and then recreate the times when stars and mega stars dominated the silver screen.
An Advisory Committee headed by renowned filmmaker Shyam Benegal has guided the Films Division in establishing the museum.
Visitors can also watch clips of old classics on a number of monitors or listen to rare film music from the past. There is also an interesting collection of posters of landmark movies from across India. A section on regional cinema is also on display.
Many famous studios of yesteryears like Mehboob Studios, RK Studios and Prasad Studios have donated equipment to the museum. Some private collectors too have come forward to donate items. The Films Division, which was set up in 1941, to produce short films to disseminate information during war time, has also displayed old Eymo and Mitchel cameras, recording equipment etc. Also of interest are some older instruments that created an illusion of movement, which were precursor to the movie camera.
NMIC has been curated by the National Council of Science Museums, Kolkata, under the Ministry of Culture, which manages 55 various kinds of museums in the country.