NEW DELHI: In a move which would bring cheer to film buffs, National Film Archive of India (NFAI) has acquired the Bengali version of film Devdas made in 1935 from Bangladesh.
A DVD copy of the P C Barua-directed movie in Bengali was handed over to NFAI officials by a visiting Bangladeshi delegation. India reciprocated the gesture by handing them a copy of Raja Harishchandra.
There was a silent version of Devdas made in 1928 but Barua’s 1935 version was the first talkie of the Devdas series. Until now, NFAI had five versions of Devdas, including four Hindi versions (1935, 1955, 2002, 2009) and one Telugu version (1953) of the film. As this is the first Devdas talkie in Bengali, it is an important addition to the NFAI.
“This is a landmark moment in the history of film archive as this was an important film for the Indian heritage and a very important addition to our collection,” Prakash Magdum, Director, NFAI, said.
A three-member delegation led by Martuza Ahmed, Secretary, Ministry of Information, Government of Bangladesh visited the NFAI in order to study the Indian film archive and visit the state-of-the-art film storage facility there. It was during the visit that the delegation submitted a DVD copy of 1935 Bengali film Devdas.
Officials said all Indian prints of this Bengali version were destroyed decades ago and now, there is only one copy available, which belonged to the Bangladesh Film Archives. “It was 30 years since India had been looking for this film. The exchange was possible due to special efforts taken by both the archives in recognising the need to extend support towards promoting the Film heritage of both nations,” Bangladesh Film Archive director general Mohammad Jahangir Hossain said.