Hindi film actor Amitabh Bachchan will be honoured with the FIAF Award for his “dedication and contribution to the preservation of, and access to, the world’s film heritage for the benefit of present and future generations”, a press release stated. The International Federation of Film Archives, known as FIAF, represents 174 film archives and museums around the world.

Bachchan was nominated by Shivendra Singh Dungarpur’s Film Heritage Foundation, which is a FIAF affiliate, the press release said. Bachchan will be honoured at a virtual ceremony on March 19 by directors Martin Scorsese and Christopher Nolan.

Bachchan is the first Indian to be given the FIAF Award. According to the press release, previous recipients include Martin Scorsese (2001), Manoel de Oliveira (2002), Ingmar Bergman (2003), Hou Hsiao-hsien (2006), Peter Bogdanovich (2007), Rithy Panh (2009), Liv Ullmann (2010), Agnes Varda (2013), Jan Svankmajer (2014), Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne (2016), Christopher Nolan (2017), Apichatpong Weerasethakul (2018) and Jean-Luc Godard (2019).

The FIAF Award is given to “personalities from outside the archival world who have worked to advocate the cause of film preservation”, the press release stated. The recipient is chosen by the FIAF Executive Committee from nominations sent FIAF-affiliated archives.

FIAF President Frederic Maire explained his choice in a press statement: “FIAF has been very active in India and South Asia, thanks to its close collaboration with Film Heritage Foundation, since 2015. By presenting our prestigious FIAF Award to Amitabh Bachchan, we want to show the world how rich and diverse, but also how fragile, this unique film heritage is, and we want to publicly thank Mr. Bachchan for his role as a high-profile advocate for the rescue of this heritage, in India and beyond.”

In his press statement, Bachchan said he “realized the extent of the neglect and colossal loss of our precious film heritage” when he became the Film Heritage Foundation’ s ambassador in 2015. “Recognizing the urgency of the situation, I have been working closely with Film Heritage Foundation since its inception to do everything in our power to save our films and to build a movement for film preservation in our part of the world...,” Bachchan said.

Film Heritage Foundation founder Shivendra Singh Dungarpur explained why he nominated Bachchan for the award in the press release: “Our foundation has been working relentlessly to preserve what remains of our endangered film heritage not just in India, but in the subcontinent. This has been a cause that has been much neglected in our part of the world, and we have been fortunate enough to enjoy the unstinting support of our ambassador, Amitabh Bachchan, who has championed the cause of saving our film heritage and constructively wielded his influence to amplify the cause on a war footing in our part of the world.”

The 78-year-old actor has monetarily contributed to the cause, the press release stated, alongside “”storing celluloid prints of his own productions and the ones he acted in immaculately in an air-conditioned vault at his residence over the years to frequently appealing to the government and film fraternity” to preserve India’s film heritage.

Bachchan was “unanimously voted by all FIAF Executive Committee members’” Dungarpur added.