Film preservation still ignored; even 'Sholay' hasn't been archived

India is set to enter its centenary year in 2013, but ironically "film preservation" is still a not-so-popular term here, says filmmaker Shivendra Dungarpur.

Sunday, October 21, 2012 | 4:57:58 PM IST (+05:30 GMT)
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India is set to enter its centenary year in 2013, but ironically "film preservation" is still a not-so-popular term here, says filmmaker Shivendra Dungarpur.

The lack of awareness can be estimated from the fact that a cult film like "Sholay" has not been archived, he told a panel discussion here Saturday.

"When it comes to India, we have not yet moved ahead. People are still not aware of preservation. Here it is all about scanning and taking backup in DVDs. People should understand the importance of preservation," said Dungarpur, who made the documentary "Celluloid Man".

"It's very sad that we make around 1,000 films in India and producers just don't donate a single print to archive while around 800 prints are being sold in the market," he added.

He was speaking at a panel discussion at the ongoing 14th edition of Mumbai Film Festival about the current state of film preservation and challenges.

Dungarpur said "awareness" is still not there.

"It would be great if we donate at least one print for archive. Even film like 'Sholay' has not had been archived. We want to spread the message that preservation is of key importance," he added.

Preserving films is important for the sake of future generation.

Margaret Bodde, executive director of The Film Foundation, said: "The most compelling question that comes to you when you see a film is how to preserve this film.

"We want to make sure that the future generations continue to have archive of all old films. Archiving is important and necessary so they have the access to them and be aware of it."

Preservation means creating a durable copy without losing quality.

While in Hollywood many initiatives have been taken on preserving and restoring films, Indian cinema is yet to be aware of it.

Schawn Belston, senior vice president, Library and Technical Services, 20th Century Fox Film Corporation; Margaret Bodde, executive director, The Film Foundation, and Kimball Thurston of Reliance Media Works, Los Angeles, among others, participated in the discussion.

--Indo-Asian New Service


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