Mumbai to have First Museum of Indian Cinema

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Mumbai to have First Museum of Indian Cinema

The first – ever museum of Indian cinema will come up in Mumbai in 2013, to mark the occasion of Indian cinema completing its 100 { +t }{ +h }year, having started its journey with the screening of Raja Harishchandra in 1913.

The National Museum of Indian Cinema will be set up on the premises of the Films Division on Dr. G. Deshmukh Marg in the city in two phases, with a budget of ₹ 120 crore. “It will be the first – ever museum of Indian cinema, and will serve as a monument for our cinema. We are planning to start the first phase of the museum before May 13, the day when Raja Harishchandra was released,” V. S. Kundu, Director General of Films Division, told The Hindu on the telephone.

The museum, in its first phase, will be spread over an area of 6,000 sq. ft in a portion of Gulshan Mahal, a heritage building that has been renovated recently, he said. The National Council of Science Museums ( NCSM ), a unit under the Ministry of Culture, has been given the responsibility to develop the concept and exhibits of the museum. NCSM Director G. S. Rautela said that the museum would showcase the technological aspects of production and screening of cinema, as well as its social aspects during the past 100 years.

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Though the NCSM has set up 55 different kinds of museums in the country on various issues, particularly for popularising science, the authorities are excited regarding the museum. They are being guided by an advisory committee headed by renowned filmmaker, Shyam Benegal. The museum will try to trace the birth of Indian cinema, in the section ‘Cinema before Cinema’, where items like praxinoscope and mutoscope had become star attractions.

It will portray the footsteps taken by Indian cinema, from the period of silent films to the studio period, and then recreate the times when stars and mega stars dominated Indian cinema. “The museum will have a holistic view of Indian cinema, where the multiplicity of the art will be displayed, as I visualise it,” said Amrit Gangar, film historian and curator associated with the project.

“The history of cinema is also the history of humanity,” Mr. Gangar said, adding “it is both fascinating and challenging to put it together in the form of a museum.” Talking of the different kinds of films which will find a place in the museum, he said, “India, in a way, is a continent, as we have so many types of cinema. We have regional cinema, mainstream and art, whatever name you want to give it. There are so many voices and so many expressions.”

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