Millennium Post

Thank CM for taking up restoration of Indian classics, says Amitabh

Kolkata: The Kolkata International Festival was inaugurated on Saturday evening by megastar Amitabh Bachchan, flanked by the who's who of Hindi and Bengali cinema. In the presence of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Bachchan inaugurated the 24th edition of the festival by lighting the ceremonial lamp. In his speech, the actor spoke about the glorious 100 years of the Bengali cinema.

Praising the efforts of the Mamata Banerjee government in taking up the initiative for the restoration of the Bengali film classics, he said: "Our country has produced unforgettable films of very high quality. However, many of these film prints have gone in flames for want of proper infrastructure and maintenance of old prints over time. I am thankful to Mamata Di and her government for taking up the cause of restoration and tying up with the Film Heritage Foundation (FHF) founded by Shivendra Singh Dungarpur that has identified as many as 100 Bengali films that are in urgent need of preservation and restoration."

The actor was referring to the efforts of the Bengal government in organising Film Preservation and Restoration Workshop from November 15 to 22 at ICCR in which 60 resource personnel will be trained in the art of restoration and preservation of films.

Some of the classics that have been identified for restoration include Bimal Roy's Udayer Pathe (1944),

Suchitra Sen-Uttam Kumar starrer Harano Sur (1957), Tapan Sinha's Kabuliwala (1957), Satyajit Ray's Parash Pathar (1958) and Teen

Kanya (1961), along with Mrinal Sen's Padatik (1973), among others.

Most of these films are lying with individual producers or with the state government.

The FHF has already curated a number of restored film classics from across the world that were almost out of circulation because they are almost beyond repair.

Around 13 classics of world cinema — including The Apu Trilogy (Pather Panchali, Aparajito and Apur Sansar) of Satyajit Ray, Bicycle Thieves of Vittorio De Sica and Blow Up of Michelangelo Antonioni — will be screened as 'restored classics' at the KIFF this year.

The intensive week-long workshop covers both lectures and practical classes in the best practices of the preservation and restoration of

both films and film-related paper and photographic material and are taught by a faculty of international experts from leading institutions around the world.

Bachchan urged the cine buffs to acknowledge the contribution and gain knowledge about the technicians who work behind the scenes to make a successful film.

"Here we are celebrating 100 years of Bengali cinema but it makes me sad when I find it is always the director and the lead actors who get all the credit and applause for a film's success.

"We should also acknowledge the hard efforts of the technicians like make-up artists, spot boys, assistant directors, choreographers, costume designers without whom the film would not have received any credit," he maintained.

He cited examples of

a host of directors and actors who began their career behind the scene and went on to become a force to reckon with not only in India but also in world cinema.

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