NFAI gets 30 reels of rare Gandhi footage
New Delhi: Thirty reels of rare, unedited footage of Mahatma Gandhi, including shots of him taking control of the SS Rajputana en route to London, with the captain beside him, have been secured from a private source by the Pune-based National Film Archive of India.
Almost six hours long, the highlight of the collection is a half-hour footage of a special train carrying Gandhi’s ashes from Madras to Rameshwaram. The visuals show thousands thronging railway stations like Chettinad, Sivaganga, Chidambaram, Manamadurai, Ramnad and Pudukkottai in Tamil Nadu, with folded hands and tears in their eyes, an NFAI press release said.
The footage includes visuals of a mass of people at what looks like Marina Beach in Chennai, known then as Madras, jostling with each other while carrying flags and banners to pay their last respects to the Mahatma.
The 35mm celluloid footage, stock shots with title cards in between, were taken by prominent film companies of the time, like Paramount, Pathe, Warner, Universal, British Movietone, and Wadia Movietone.
“We received these reels from a private source. There is some rare footage in this collection. Many visuals are now part of short films and documentaries which are available. Some of these shots have been used but some visuals seem unique,” said Prakash Magdum, director, NFAI.
Another reel shows the Mahatma’s South India tour and Harijan Yatra in 1946. The collection also has some rare visuals of V D Savarkar. There is exclusive footage of the Haripura Congress session with shots of Subhas Chandra Bose. Many leaders, including Pt Nehru, Sardar Patel, Sarojini Naidu and Maulana Azad, figure in the reels. The Mahatma’s meeting with Rabindranath Tagore is also part of the collection.
Full report on www.toi.in