We need to champion film preservation, restoration: Kamal Haasan

Chennai: Actor-filmmaker Kamal Haasan on Wednesday emphasised the need for film preservation and restoration.

“Digital cinema was ushered in to preserve what we have and not lose everything. It was supposed to use technology and preserve something that’s historic,” Kamal said here at an event.

“We need to champion film preservation and restoration, and it requires more trained professionals,” he said, heaping praise on the efforts made by Shivendra Singh Dungarpur, founder and director of the Film Heritage Foundation.

Kamal was talking on the sidelines of the pre-cursor to the annual Film Preservation and Restoration workshop to be organised here from October 7-14 by the Film Heritage Foundation and Viacom18 in association with the International Federation of Film Archives, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, La Cinematheque Francaise, Imperial War Museum, the Finnish Film Archive and the Czech National Archive.

Filmmaker Mani Ratnam, who was also present, said he has lost most of the original prints of his films.

“We have been floundering in the dark, unaware of how to preserve our films. I have lost most of my films. All the films of Balu Mahendra (Tamil filmmaker) are gone. It’s time we start thinking about preserving our work,” Ratnam said.

This year’s workshop aims to train an indigenous pool of film archivists and restorers as well as to create awareness about the urgent need to save India’s cinematic heritage.

With previous editions being held in Mumbai and Pune, this year the workshop hopes to not just awaken the south Indian film industry to this urgent issue, but to build on the movement that has been created all over India as well as in the neighbouring countries.