Old is gold: Film festival to screen 7 newly restored classics

India is not only the biggest film producer in the world. The growth of OTT platforms is rapid in the country.
Old is gold: Film festival to screen 7 newly restored classics

NEW DELHI: One of the highlights of this year’s International Film Festival of India (IFFI) starting November 20 will be the world premiere of recently restored seven Indian classics including Dev Anand’s Guide released in 1965 and a biopic in Bengali, Vidyapati (1937), directed by Debaki Bose.

Restoration and digitisation of old films is the biggest programme initiated across the globe of late. Nearly 6,000 films, including documentaries, are being preserved under the National Film Heritage Mission (NFHM), said Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Anurag Singh Thakur on Monday, while briefing about the 54th edition of the festival to be held in Goa.

“India is not only the biggest film producer in the world. The growth of OTT platforms is rapid in the country. Average growth of our entertainment and media industry is 20 per cent per annum. It is becoming a million dollar industry and generating lakhs of employment opportunities. The country is turning into a hub of film shooting and post production. India is soon going to become a content hub of India,” added the minister.

The other restored films that are to be screened during the festival are Shyamchi Aai (Marathi-1953), Patala Bhairavi (Telugu-1951), Haqeeqat (Hindi-1964), Chorus (Bengali-1974), and Bees Saal Baad (Hindi-1962).

Apart from these, three international films that were restored will also be showcased in the festival. These include The Exorcist: Director’s Cut (1973) and the 1965 melodrama Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors. The government had announced a budget of `363 crore for the mission in May 2022.

“The reels (of these films) have not just been digitised, they have been restored by repairing the scratch marks and other damages… Nearly 2,500 films of various languages have been carefully restored so far,” said Prithul Kumar, director of the film festival.

As part of Indian Panorama, 25 feature films and 20 non-feature films from India will be exhibited at IFFI.  The opening film of the festival will be Malayalam feature Aattam and in the non-feature section, this would be Andro Dreams from Manipur.

In the ‘international’ section, there will be 198 films. The festival will see 13 ‘world’ and 18 ‘international’ premieres. Besides, 62 Asian productions will make their debut at the nine-day event, which will also see 89 premieres of Indian films. 

“This year, IFFI received a record number of 2,926 entries from 105 countries, which is three times more international submissions than last year,” Singh said. There will be facilities to ensure that specially-abled festival delegates can access all the screening and other venues, the minister added.

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