ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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On the Art of Listening

A tribute to P K Nair (1933-2016) who founded and helmed the National Film Archive of India and left an indelible mark on the world of films in the country.

Some day in the early 1960s a very young Paramesh Krishnan Nair, large bright eyes, prominent sideburns making a sartorial statement, newly-appointed government servant in the Film Institute of India, might have felt a heavy wind blow out of the hinterland he was considering. It was the hinterland of Indian film history; his task, to begin archiving it. The wind almost frightened him; it travelled across such a vast, diverse geography.

Film in the subcontinent had started very soon after the Lumiere exhibition, when a diversity of entrepreneurs, local and foreign, gathered audiences into new communions. Worlds moved on large cloth in theatres and people responded in thousands. The nationalist movement was on, but while many a film had vociferously laid bricks of nation building, many among the elite, including national leaders, treated it as a guilty pleasure.

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