Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Martin Scorcese and Tamil Films????

A reader from Bangalore Mr.Gokul wrote to me about the non availability of Tamil Classics , as he put it so eloquently.
It refers to the non availability in any format of several Tamil Films. I was watching the Golden Globe awards and one of the reasins for martin Scorcese being awarded the Cecil B Demille award was his active restoration efforts in bringing back the old classics.
I am quoting from what he said -

"I am proud to present this first line-up of films restored with the aid of the World Cinema Foundation. We launched the foundation in 2007 with the goal of restoring and preserving neglected films from around the world. We also understood, very quickly, that we needed to help create awareness of the films, to get them known and seen. That’s why we entered into a partnership with The Auteurs.
The diversity of these pictures reflects the foundation and all it stands for, but it also reflects world cinema itself, and the richness to be found in the lost corners of cinema history.
These films were made at different moments in history, under a variety of circumstances, all across the globe. Each title needed attention and care. I’m glad that the World Cinema Foundation was able to help with their restoration and preservation. Each and every title is precious to me, and my hope is that a viewing on this website will lead you to seek out screenings of these pictures or perhaps DVDs as they appear. They don’t deserve to be kept a secret. They deserve to be known.
-Martin Scorsese"

The state of affairs in Indian Films is deplorable and that of the Tamil Industry Pathetic. At least in Hindi there were efforts to restore Mughal e azam and a few others.

To my knowledge only A.V.M have managed to preserve and digitise all their 170 odd films from the pre independance days. ALL OTHERS HAVE LEFT A LOT TO BE DESIRED.

I do not blame the others for archiving films is a very laborious and costly affair. The negatives/prints have to be stored in temperature/humidity controlled rooms and need to be regularly taken out and aired to prevent fungus from forming.

Many a great film produced between the 30s and now are no longer available, The reasons for this are plenty... The most important one is that there are no Prints/Negatives available. For those that are there - the ownership or rights holder is unknown/subject to litigation. Many a great film made by the veena Viruoso and film director S.Balachander have gone this way...Indeed for my talk on Chandrababu I was searching for a Print of the film Kumararaja - especially for the song " Aan ondru Paada..." where he dances with Helen ( ?) I think. Not available. I was told that many many such films have gone into thin air. How sad.....

What is sadder is that no effort has been taken by anyone to bring about this process of restoring these classics.....In fact , even the prints of a few of the MGR and Sivaji classics are in such a bad shape , many have actually gone into oblivion. The other issue is the absence of a proper archiving facility - the Pune archives I believe has some rare prints like "Thyagabhoomi" - wonder what else they have. Can we do something about it ?
Before we loose what little we have.


Shame on us....We keep crying of Tamil Culture and Panpaadu.....lovely way we have preserved it. Thank you Gokul for waking me up. I will try to set something in motion.
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.