First Indian film museum opens in home of Bollywood

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The India’s first national film museum is spread across a stylish 19th-century bungalow and a modern five-story glass structure in south Mumbai. (AFP)
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The National Museum of Indian Cinema (NMIC) is the country’s first museum showcasing the history of its film industry. (AFP)
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The museum costs 1.4 billion rupees (19.6 million USD). (AFP)
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The new museum traces the evolution of Indian cinema, in the home of Bollywood in Mumbai. (AFP)
Updated 30 January 2019
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First Indian film museum opens in home of Bollywood

  • Movie-mad India today produces around 1,500 films a year, dwarfing even Hollywood’s output
  • The government-funded museum boasts stacks of memorabilia, recordings and film-making tools as well as interactive touch screens

MUMBAI: From silent black-and-white films to colorful blockbusters bursting with song and dance, the evolution of Indian cinema is traced by a new museum in the home of Bollywood.
Costing 1.4 billion rupees ($19.6 million), India’s first national film museum is spread across a stylish 19th-century bungalow and a modern five-story glass structure in south Mumbai.
“It showcases to the world outside what Indian cinema has achieved in its entirety over more than 100 years,” Amrit Gangar, a consulting curator on the project, told AFP.
Movie-mad India today produces around 1,500 films a year, dwarfing even Hollywood’s output.

It is located in South Mumbai. (AFP)


The government-funded National Museum of Indian Cinema (NMIC) boasts stacks of memorabilia, recordings and film-making tools as well as interactive touch screens where visitors can watch clips from memorable movies.
Movie buffs can learn about India’s first full-length feature film, the 1913 Dadasaheb Phalke-directed “Raja Harishchandra,” and listen to recordings of K. L. Saigal, considered the first superstar of Hindi-language cinema.
They are also able to view hand-painted movie posters, including for internationally acclaimed director Satyajit Ray’s 1955 hit “Pather Panchali,” and click selfies beside a statue of Bollywood icon Raj Kapoor.
The museum takes visitors through “the journey of Indian cinema, from silent films to ‘talkies’ to the studio era to the new wave,” Prashant Pathrabe, director general of the Indian government’s film department, told AFP.
Bollywood is a nickname for the Hindi-language film industry that is based in Mumbai, formerly known as Bombay.
The museum celebrates not just Bollywood but also the movies made in the various regions and languages across India.
“Films are made in about 25 different regional languages in India and all are included here so that the entire country, irrespective of which part you come from, can enjoy this museum,” said Pathrabe.
The museum also hosts replicas of the Mutoscope, the camera used by the Lumiere Brothers, and the Praxinoscope — a spinning cylindrical animation device invented in France in the 1870s.
The idea for the museum was first mooted in 2006 and it was due to open in 2014 when the exhibition rooms housed in the 6,000 square foot heritage building were declared ready.

Visitors can learn more about the first ever Bollywood movie at the museum. (AFP)


However the opening was delayed after the government decided to build the new wing, which includes a section exploring the impact independence hero Mahatma Gandhi had on cinema around the world, including on Charlie Chaplin.
“This is the first time I have seen such a huge museum about cinema,” said Maria Jones, who had traveled from her home in the southern India state of Kerala, to visit the museum.
“I’m really happy and excited to see the history of Indian cinema until now. The different cameras have been fascinating for me. The first cameras were really huge,” she told AFP.
The museum does contain some gaps though as many of India’s early films were never preserved while other artefacts have been damaged over the years.
For example, the last remaining print of India’s first “talkie,” the 1931 “Alam Ara” (The Light of the World), was destroyed in a fire in 2003.
Still, officials expect the museum to be a hit with fans.
“It’s an education in cinema,” said Pathrabe.


‘Age-Old Cities’ exhibition in Riyadh museum breathes new life into ancient sites 

Updated 19 April 2019
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‘Age-Old Cities’ exhibition in Riyadh museum breathes new life into ancient sites 

  • National Museum in Riyadh hosts digital show that tells the story of Mosul, Palmyra, Aleppo and Leptis Magna

JEDDAH: An exhibition that uses digital technology to revive the region’s ancient sites and civilizations that have been destroyed or are under threat due to conflict and terrorism opened at the National Museum in Riyadh on April 18.

“Age-Old Cities” tells the story of four historically significant cities that have been devastated by violence: Mosul in Iraq, Palmyra and Aleppo in Syria, and Leptis Magna in Libya. 

Using stunning giant-screen projections, virtual reality, archival documents and images, and video testimonials from inhabitants of the affected sites, the immersive exhibition transports visitors back in time and presents the cities as they were in their prime. 

It charts their journey from the origins of their ancient civilizations to their modern-day state, and presents plans for their restoration and repair. 

The exhibition has been organized by the Ministry of Culture in collaboration with the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris. Riyadh is the first stop outside the French capital on the exhibition’s global tour. 

The exhibition follows last month’s unveiling of the Kingdom’s new cultural vision, which included the announcement of several initiatives, including a new residency scheme for international artists to practice in the Kingdom and the establishment of the Red Sea International Film Festival. 

Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan Al-Saud, minister of culture, said: “I am delighted to welcome the ‘Age-Old Cities’ exhibition to Riyadh. 

“It highlights the importance of heritage preservation, particularly here in the Middle East, and the vulnerability of some of our historic sites. 

“It must be the responsibility of governments to put an end to this damage and neglect, and to put heritage at the heart of action, investment, and policy.

“I will be encouraging my fellow members of government to attend this eye-opening exhibition in our National Museum, and hope to work in the future with partners, governments and experts to do what we can to secure our region’s heritage.”

The exhibition carries a significant message about the importance of preserving and protecting these precious but fragile sites — one which resonates strongly in the week when one of the world’s most-famous heritage sites, Paris’ Notre-Dame Cathedral, went up in flames.