Auditorium - DAMSLab > 11:00

P.K. Nair and the National Film Archive of Pune

Conversation with Shivendra Singh Dungarpur


P.K. Nair’s fascination with cinema began as a child. He watched his first few films lying on the white sand floor of a cinema in Trivandrum. 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 legendary film archivist. Few are aware that 1700 silent films were made in India of which only five or six complete films and a few fragments survive thanks to the efforts of Nair. He travelled to remote parts of India to collect and save cans of rare films. The fact that Dadasaheb Phalke is recognized today as the father of Indian cinema is Nair’s doing. He was truly democratic as an archivist trying to save any film that he could get his hands on, be it world cinema, Hindi popular films or regional Indian cinema. He has influenced generations of Indian film students, especially Indian New Wave filmmakers such as Mani Kaul, Kumar Shahani, Adoor Gopalakrishnan and John Abraham. In the era before Dvds and the internet, he introduced students to the world of cinema and gifted them with the opportunity to watch films that otherwise they might never have had the chance to see. Nair was not just the founder of the National Film Archive, but a living, breathing museum of cinema. The fact that India has a cinematic heritage at all is the singlehanded achievement of this man. There will be no one like him again.

Shivendra Singh Dungarpur





Thursday 30/06/2016