Reel Life

India Today - - SIMPLY PUNE - By Aditi Pai

Did you know Raja Har­ishchan­dra, In­dia’s first ever film, was pieced to­gether and re­stored by P K Nair, the founder of National Film Ar­chives of In­dia in Pune? Ad­ver­tis­ing pro­fes­sional and film­maker Shiven­dra Singh Dun­garpur’s film Cel­lu­loid Man tells sev­eral such sto­ries about Nair, the fa­ther of the NFAI who trav­elled across the coun­try to bring re­gional lan­guage films into the Ar­chives. Be it Ben­gali, Kan­nada or Tel­ugu, the first ever films were col­lected by Nair. Even af­ter re­tire­ment, he con­tin­ued to stay just out­side the NFAI only to keep his con- nect with his cre­ation. “They banned him from en­ter­ing be­cause they saw him, the founder, as a threat,” says Dun­garpur. The film, which has trav­elled to 24 fes­ti­vals world over, has in­ter­est­ing anec­dotes such as Nair dig­ging up Dadasa­heb Phalke’s diary to get the or­der of the shots to piece the six reels of Raja Har­ishchan­dra to­gether. “If we know Phalke, it’s all thanks to P K Nair. We’d never have seen In­dia’s first film had it not been for his ef­forts,” he adds.

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