The National Film Archive of India has added 2,200 short films and documentaries in the 16mm format to its collection, the government-run film preservation and restoration body announced on Wednesday. The prints were acquired from the State Institute for Audio-Visual Education (Maharashtra) in Pune.
The collection features several rare productions and covers a range of topics including history, music, science and education, said a press note. These include writer and poet Roy Kinikar’s documentary on Raja Kelkar Museum in Pune, V Shantaram’s documentary Sangeet Bharat, Raja Nene’s 1947 experimental film Lalat and Balkrishna Kulkarni’s Kavincha Kavi Keshavsut, about the renowned poet Krishnaji Keshav Damle.
“It is a matter of great joy to discover these films depicting the cultural diversity of India,” NFAI Director Prakash Magdum said in the press note. “It is indeed a staggering collection that consists of several important short films and documentaries of bygone era. This is for the first time that we have received such a huge number of films in celluloid format.”
Other items in the collection include two films by veteran director Phani Majumdar on Indian philosopher Sri Aurobindo, R Sundaram’s Tanjore, the Cultural Capital, a documentary on Tamil Nadu’s Thanjavur, and Ram Gabale’s Savdhan, an educational film on road safety.
International productions from countries including Japan, Russia, West Indies, Britain and Canada also feature in the collection. “A special film from this category is from National Film Board of Canada that showcases how children learn from film strips,” the press note read.
Many of the productions in the collection are by Films Division and Children’s Film Society of India. “We have been previewing these films in a phased manner,” Magdum said. “Given the large volume of films, there could be some important films in this collection. But it seems that most of these films, sadly, are in critical condition. We will make every effort to save and preserve as much as possible.”