After the recent acquisition of the 1919 film, Bilwamangal, National Film Archive of India (NFAI) has added 23 Telugu classics to its collection. The films include LV Prasad’s Shavukaru (1950), Pelli Chesi Choodu (1952) and Missamma (1955), and Vijaya Vauhini Studios productions Pathala Bhairavi (1951), Maya Bazar (1957) and Satya Harishchandra (1965).
The NFAI, a media unit of India’s Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, functions as the country’s largest archive of cinema by tracing, acquiring and preserving old films and footages. The institute has been encouraging the public to donate any rare and old film footage and also, film-related material such as wall posters, still photographs and song booklets in their possession.
In early October, the Bangladesh Film Archive (BFA) agreed to donate the original celluloid print of Pramathesh Barua’s Devdas to the National Film Archives of India (NFAI). All Indian prints of the 1935 classic have been lost. In 2015, NFAI had acquired a DVD format of the film from Bangladesh in exchange for a copy of India’s first silent feature film, Raja Harishchandra. However, the restoration work was unsuccessful.
Bilwamangal is the second oldest title in the NFAI’s archive, after DG Phalke’s silent movie Raja Harishchandra that was made in 1917. Other archaic silent films in its collection include Kaliya Mardan (1919), The Light of Asia (1925), Shiraz (1929), Baburao Painter’s Maya Bazaar(1925), Sati Savitri (1927) and Muraliwala (1927), and PV Rao’s Marthand Varma (1933).
The recently acquired Pathala Bhairavi (1951), directed by Kadiri Venkata Reddy and starring NT Rama Rao, is a fantasy-adventure with music composed by renowned music director Ghantasala. LV Prasad’s Shavukaru is a family drama starring NTR and Sowcar Janaki.
Featured Image Courtesy: The Indian Express