20 June, 2021

After The Credits Roll

A paean to the man who saved Indian cinema

After The Credits Roll

In 1969, a government officer at the National Film Archives of India (NFAI), Pune, took a late night “paper taxi” carrying the early edition of the Kesari newspaper to Nashik. He had to collect some rare nitrate films from Prabhakar Phalke whose late father, Dhundiraj Govind Phalke, had made India’s first motion picture, Raja Harishchandra. The officer returned the same day with the two surviving reels—the first and the last—of that historic film and also disparate fragments of another Phalke film, Kaliya Mardan, which he later meticulously sorted into the right order on the basis of the handwritten notes left behind by the filmmaker. Had it not been for the officer, there would have been little of Phalke—and in turn, Indian film history—for our viewing pleasure.

In the 100th year of Indian cinema, Shivendra Singh Dungarpur’s fascinating documentary Celluloid Man, which had its India premiere at the recently concluded Mumbai Film Festival and plays next at the International Film Festival...

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