The heritage of Indian cinema dating back to over a century has been preserved and a museum in this regard has been established in a Victorian-era building in Mumbai.
The National Museum of Indian Cinema (NMIC) is situated in the 6,000 sq-ft ‘Gulshan Mahal’ in the premises of the Films Division on Pedder Road in south Mumbai.
“The museum, dedicated to the journey of Indian cinema is all ready. The inside of the colonial ‘Gulshan Mahal’ has been retro-fitted to bring period look and the outside too has been refurbished to evoke the era. We are now just waiting to hear the inauguration date from the Centre,” said Officer-in-Charge of Distribution, Films Division, Anil Kumar.
The museum, set up by the Films Division under the ambitious project of the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, was envisioned in the 90s.
Kumar, also the Liaison Officer for NMIC, said the new museum will exhibit the journey of ‘motion pictures’ in the country through the ages and will also encapsulate its socio- cultural history as revealed through the evolution of cinema.
“It will showcase our cinematic heritage and journey through panels and exhibits. It will also have film memorabilia, old cameras, equipment and some replicas also of artefacts of olden days like praxinoscope, zoetrope depicting the various techniques that were used in creating motion pictures before the medium of celluloid arrived,” he said.
Incidentally, the journey of cinema in India began on July 7, 1896 with the screening of Lumiere brothers’ (Auguste and Louis) six short films at the Watson Hotel (now Esplanade Mansions) in Bombay (now Mumbai) which left viewers astounded.
Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Prakash Javdekar, without specifying the exact date, hinted at the opening of the NMIC soon.
“We have a rich history of our cinema and we do want to work on saving that heritage. We have a new heritage museum coming up in Mumbai. But, much more will be happening in future in that area,” said Javadekar.
Among other exhibits, the museum also showcases the contributions made by stalwarts and pioneers of Indian cinema and its growth through its tumultuous years, like H S Bhatavdekar, better known as ‘Save dada’, J F Madan of ‘Elphinstone Bioscope’ fame, among others.
Nineteenth century English photographer Eadweard Muybridge, renowned for his ‘The Horse in Motion’ moving images, has also been paid a visual tribute that recalls his groundbreaking contribution to the field.