Amitabh Bachchan to launch Film Heritage Foundation’s book, written by India’s foremost film archivist PK Nair
Film Heritage Foundation, the brainchild of filmmaker-archivist Shivendra Singh Dungarpur , is the only non-government film archive in the country and the only other Indian member of the International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF) besides the National Film Archive of India (NFAI).
The organisation will release its second publication Yesterday’s Films ForTomorrow – a compilation of the writings of legendary film archivist, the lateP.K.Nair edited by Rajesh Devraj at the hands of its brand ambassador Amitabh Bachchan on April 6 in Mumbai. Naseeruddin Shah will readextracts from the book, and Shivendra Singh Dungarpur, Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Govind Nihalani, Shyam Benegal and Anurag Kashyap will speak on the occasion.
Shivendra Singh Dungarpur has earlier made an award-winningdocumentary ‘Celluloid Man’ that pays tribute to India’s legendary archivistP.K.Nair while celebrating the history of Indian cinema and making a ferventplea for its preservation and restoration. The film won two National Awards and travelled to over fifty festivals around the world including Telluride, NewYork, Rotterdam, Hong Kong and Shanghai. This book seems a natural progression to bring to life writings of the man who made a difference in the lives of many of India’s successful film directors.
Enthuses Shivendra Singh Dungarpur, “Yesterday’s Films For Tomorrow is Film Heritage Foundation’s second publication. The earlier one From Darkness Into Light being the first book in India on film preservation and restoration. When Nairsaheb left his personal files, journals and diaries to our foundation, we realized this precious material would make a great book that would archive his words for posterity as well as being a rich source of information for film-lovers, academics, students and researchers. We felt there could be no more fitting tribute to a man who in his lifetime was a living, breathing museum of cinema.”
Avers Amitabh Bachchan, the brand ambassador of Film Heritage Foundation, “Yesterday’s Films For Tomorrow is a commendable initiative of Film Heritage Foundation. They are the custodians of the PK Nair archive and by publishing this book they have made this valuable material available to the public. I am very happy to have been invited to release this unique book on cinema written by a person who devoted his life selflessly to saving our film history.”
Adds Naseeruddin Shah who will read excerpts from the book at the launch, “a special book that begins from the magical experience of Nairsaheb watching his first film when he was eight; his incredible efforts in rescuing the early works of Phalke and his obsession for collecting and preserving films for posterity. I think it is wonderful that Film Heritage Foundation is keeping his memory alive by publishing this book as his contribution to Indian cinema is immense and should not be forgotten.”
Says Vidhu Vinod Chopra, “Whatever I have learnt in cinema, I learnt it from Mr. P.K. Nair. He was the best teacher I ever had. I helped in the production of this book as my debt to Mr Nair’s contribution, to my life and to the lives of many such filmmakers.”
Film Heritage Foundation is a not-for-profit organization based in Mumbaiestablished in 2014. Recognizing the urgent need to preserve India’scinematic heritage, the foundation is dedicated to supporting theconservation, preservation and restoration of the moving image and to develop interdisciplinary educational programs that will use film as aneducational tool and create awareness about the language of cinema.
The board of advisors includes: Shyam Benegal, Gulzar, Jaya Bachchan,Late P.K. Nair, Kumar Shahani, Girish Kasaravalli, Gian Luca Farinelli,Krzyszt of Zanussi and Mark Cousins.
Film Heritage Foundation has a growing collection of films and non-filmicmaterial, and is the custodian of the material of many eminent film personalitiesincluding PK Nair, JBH Wadia, A.R. Kardar, Kidar Sharma, Pran, Saeed Mirza, Kundan Shah,Onir, Govind Nihalani and Vishal Bhardwaj.
ABOUT PK NAIR
PK Nair was a legendary film archivist without whom India would have had no film heritage to speak of. His unique obsession with cinema built a monument to the memory of Indian cinema – the National Film Archive of India. Mr. Nair’s fascination with cinema began as a child. He was a collector even then . . . collecting ticket stubs, lobby cards, even weighing machine tickets sporting pictures of the stars of the day. He grew up to be a great collector of films.
The NFAI was founded in 1964. Nair joined as an assistant curator in 1965 and became the director of the archive in 1982.
In the quarter of a century that he spent at this institution, he dedicated his life to growing the collections of the archive can by can, gathering films from all over India and the world and working tirelessly to spread film culture through film appreciation courses and screenings. It was an amazing achievement given that film preservation was an unrecognized cause when Nair began his career.
He has influenced generations of Indian film students especially the Indian New Wave filmmakers such as Mani Kaul, Kumar Shahani, Adoor Gopalakrishnan and John Abraham. He was a prolific writer over the years wearing many hats – sometime cinephile, sometime archivist, sometime critic but always a lover of cinema.
P. K. Nair passed away on March 4, 2016. Film Heritage Foundation has published this book to archive his writings for posterity. There could be no more fitting tribute to a man who in his lifetime was a living, breathing museum of cinema.
ABOUT FILM HERITAGE FOUNDATION
Film Heritage Foundation is the only non-government film archive in the country and the only other Indian member of the International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF) besides the National Film Archive of India (NFAI).
They have been pioneers in the field of training in film preservation and restoration having conducted two successful intensive film preservation and restoration workshops in 2015 and 2016 respectively in partnership with the best film archives and restorers in the world. Our collaborators include Martin Scorsese’s The World Cinema Project, Cineteca di Bologna, L’Immagine Ritrovata, George Eastman Museum and the British Film Institute amongst others. Both workshops were certified by FIAF. Their second workshop in partnership with NFAI was crucial in laying the groundwork for the government as they went into the National Film Heritage Mission. We are now preparing for the third edition of the workshop to be held in Chennai in October 2017.
ABOUT SHIVENDRA SINGH DUNGARPUR
Film Heritage Foundation’s founder director Shivendra Singh Dungarpur is a filmmaker, archivist and restorer who passionately believes in the cause of film preservation and restoration.
He has made an award-winning documentary ‘Celluloid Man’ (2012) that pays tribute to India’s legendary archivist P.K. Nair while celebrating the history of Indian cinema and making a fervent plea for its preservation and restoration. The film won two National Awards and travelled to over fifty festivals around the world including Telluride, New York, Rotterdam, Hong Kong and Shanghai.
In 2015, he made his second documentary, “The Immortals” that premiered at the Busan International Film Festival.
It is a visual exploration of physical artifacts, personal spaces and living memories where the image speaks for itself, recreating the impression of each artist whilst telling the story of Indian cinema. The film won the Special Jury Award at the Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF) for Documentary, Short and Animation Films.
He has collaborated on two world-class restoration projects with Martin Scorsese’s World Cinema Foundation: Uday Shankar’s classic film ‘Kalpana’ and eminent Sri Lankan filmmaker Dr. Lester James Peries film ‘Nidhanaya’ that premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2012 and Venice Film Festival 2013 respectively. He was also a donor for the restoration of Hitchcock’s silent film ‘The Lodger’ that was done by the British Film Institute.
Shivendra travels the world to meet and extensively interview great masters of cinema for his personal archive. He has had the privilege of meeting and interviewing on camera Manoel de Oliveira in Porto, Jiří Menzel, Juraj Herz, Jan Němec and Vera Chytilová in Prague, Andrzej Wajda, Krzysztof Zanussi, Witold Sobocinski and Jerzy Wójcik in Warsaw, István Szabó and Miklós Jancsó in Budapest, and Raoul Coutard in Bayonne. He is currently working on a documentary on Jiri Menzel and the Czech New Wave that should be complete this year.
He has been invited to be a member of the Artistic Committee of the Il Cinema Ritrovato Festival in Bologna that includes amongst others Alexander Payne, Thelma Schoonmaker, Jonathan Rosenbaum, Jean Douchet, Aki Kaurismaki, Peter Becker and Kevin Brownlow. He is also a member of the Honorary Committee of the Nitrate Picture Show, George Eastman Museum’s Festival of Film Conservation.
Shivendra has also directed and produced over 600 commercials, short films and documentaries under the banner of ‘Dungarpur Films’ one of the most reputed production houses in the country.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Yesterday’s Films For Tomorrow is compilation of Essays on Indian cinema from the man who rescued its history Known as India’s ‘Celluloid Man P. K. Nair (1933-2016) was a passionate film-lover and archivist who dedicated his entire life
to saving the country’s cinematic heritage. From the films of Phalke to the classics of the studio era, much of our film history would have been reduced to blank pages, but for his efforts.
Now, for the first time, Nair’s own writings on cinema have been brought together in one volume. The book has been published by Film Heritage Foundation with the support of Vidhu Vinod Chopra.
This book is a remembrance of a person who was obsessed with not just the stories that cinema told, but with all its facets—the form, function and the ephemera of the moving image. He was a collector, a cinephile, a historian, an archivist, an evangelist, a teacher and a student of cinema—all of which is reflected in this compilation of his writings.
Here are Nair’s evocative memories of movie-going in the 1940s, and working with Mehboob, the legendary director of Mother India, as well as a first-person account of how Phalke’s Kaliya Mardan and several other lost films were salvaged.
Opinion pieces present views on the need to preserve films and the threats posed by the digital age, while a section on Indian film history provides fascinating insights into the silent era. Other highlights include an illustrated survey of poster art, and Nair’s notes in the dark: his essays on themes ranging from regional cinema to the use of song in Indian cinema and Devdas’s many avatars, drawn from a lifetime of watching movies. Absorbing and informative, Yesterday’s
Films for Tomorrow is a book for everyone who loves cinema, and cares about its past and its future.
“Engaging and thought-provoking . . .Nair’s great love for cinema is evident on every page.” – Shyam Benegal
“In our history of cinema, his name should be like Phalke’s. Phalke was the founder, but it was Nair who gave him a place in history.” – Gulzar
“Nair, for me, is a symbol of the memory of cinema.” – Krzysztof Zanussi
Yesterday’s Films for Tomorrow is edited by Rajesh Devraj. It is published by the Film Heritage Foundation. Price: Rs. 495/- / US $ 14.99. The book is being distributed by Om Books International and will be available at all major bookstores as well as on Flipkart and Amazon.