Censor board to release historic data on Indian cinema

The National Film Archive of India has released documents of the early Indian cinema and Indian film industry to make information available to film researchers worldwide who are interested in them.

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Geetanjali Minhas | April 4, 2019 | Delhi


#government gazettes   #Bengal   #Bombay   #film industry   #historic data   #indian cinema   #NFAI  


Rare and historical data of the early Indian cinema and film industry will now be available online. The National Film Archive of India has released documents of the early Indian cinema and Indian film industry to make information available to film researchers worldwide who are interested in them.

 
These records consists of the early film data published as Bombay and Bengal Government Gazettes during the period 1920 – 1950 and  is a compilation of data of films submitted for examination/certification to censor boards by companies and individuals. The records provide detailed information like name of the film examined, number of reels, length of film, name of company or person applying for certification, name of company or person producing or releasing the film, country of origin, date of examination and number and date of certification issued and endorsement details.
 
As an example the records include information on refusal of certification to the American silent film ‘The Volga Boatman’  produced and directed by legendary filmmaker Cecil B De Mille, and  its prohibition n India by Bombay Board of Film Censors on the ground that it portrayed class hatred, violence, degrading lust and brutality as accompanying the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia.
 
Similarly, in a  silent film titled ‘Poona Raided’ made by Deccan Pictures Corporation in 1924 and directed by BV (Mama) Varerkar, a leading playwright of Marathi cinema a  scene was cut  before the film was passed by the then Bombay Board of Film Censors. The film was an ambitious production  and also  the best known directorial effort of  Mama Varerkar retells the legendary episode of Mughal Commander Shahistekhan’s attack on Poona and King Shivaji’s daredevil bravery in repelling it.
 
In the said scene where Shahistekhan makes an obeisance and says “The Crescent Moon! Who calls him a Satan? He is the beloved of the Lord”, and where Shivaji is transformed into the God Shankar with the crescent moon on his head and is retransformed into his original form as Shivaji has been cut out together with the above words of Shahistekhan (scene length: 22 ¾ feet; title length: 11 ½ feet). The film was certified on 15th August, 1924 with a recommendation to cut this scene in reel 7. According to film historians the film was most likely made with an awareness of anti-imperialist metaphor in tune with the struggle for India’s independence.
 
Such details and many other facts regarding the early era of India’s film industry with over 2,500 pages have been uploaded on NFAI website https://www.nfai.gov.in. 

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