The 'Celluloid Man' speaks

Published: 15th December 2012 12:13 PM  |   Last Updated: 15th December 2012 12:13 PM   |  A+A-


As an eight year-old boy, P K Nair had his first film-viewing experience at the Sree Padmanabha theatre in the city. For watching the movie, he purchased an economy class ticket and sat royally on the white sand laid on the floor inside the theatre. Ten times older now, he was in the same theatre this IFFK. A familiar presence at all editions of the festival, this time he sat down at the theatre this time to watch ‘Celluloid Man’ directed by Shivendra Singh Dungarpur, a film based on his life and contribution to Indian cinema. He had wished to be a film-maker but instead, had made a mark as a ‘collector’ of films and in spearheading the  National Film Archive of India for years. “My family was not convinced about the idea of my becoming a film-maker. And I was destined to be a film archivist,” he says.

Film archiving is not plain-sailing as it require a lot of passion, dedication and interest from the person. “Film archiving is not as glamorous a profession as film making. One should willingly set aside the glamour aspect and must keep in mind that everything you do is for generations to come,” he says. Knowledge about films and awareness about the  history of films, he says, are essential for a film-archivist. He is confident that film-archiving can even be taught as a course.

Nair admits that it is not a cushy 10 to 5 job. This is substantiated in the documentary by his daughter Beena who says it was very rare to see their father at home in the evenings and how her mother carefully monitored the family affairs.

Speaking on his film, Nair says, many of his students had before approached him for making a documentary on him. “After a while, I realised Dungarpur was serious about it as he was documenting it on film than in digital form, which came as quite a surprise for me,” he smiles. When asked about this student, he hardly remembers teaching him. Post retirement in 1991, he took classes at the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) at Pune and Shivendra Dungarpur belongs to the 1994 batch. The filming started two years ago in 2010 and was completed in June 2012.

“Before filming, he sought my opinion in preparing a list of people related to me and my work. Yet, all the bytes could not be included in the film as it would have made it too long,” he says.

Stay up to date on all the latest Thiruvananthapuram news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp