Author Ashish Rajadhaksha’s Encyclopedia of Indian Cinema finds a special place at the library of National Film Archive of India (NFAI) in Pune. Co-written by Paul Willemen and printed by the Oxford University Press in association with NFAI 20 years ago, the book remains the last extensive work on Indian film archiving to exist in print. This fact is indicative of the dismal state that the process of film archiving currently is in India.
“Of the 1,100 films India produces every year in 14 languages — most of which are made by Bollywood — we only select five to 10 per cent for archival,” admits Kiran Dhivar, film preservation officer at NFAI. This privileged lot comprises of films made by National Film Development Corporation, National Award-winning films, movies that travel to international festivals and those that run at the box office for more than 100 days. However, the process itself is restricted to the listing of a handful of technical details such as gauge and base, number of reels and spool, censor length and so on. Beyond this, all one can find is the year of production, the director’s name, the production company, copyright owner, language, subtitles and year of receipt.
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