Museum of the Cinematic Medium
Organiser   29-Jan-2019
The National Museum of Indian Cinema not only provides a compendium of information to the amateurs but also helps various other people from the fraternity to know and evaluate the development of cinema as a medium of artistic expression
Rajan Khanna
 
How’s the Josh?” Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked the audience at the National Museum of Indian Cinema (NMIC) while inaugurating it on January 19. The Museum can be enumerated as a landmark in the history of one of the richest and thriving industries of the country, the film industry.

 
Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and I&B Minister Shri Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore at the Museum after inauguration 
 
The NMIC is located in the posh but bustling Peddar Road of Mumbai and boasts of two tall buildings, decorated with the history of Indian Cinema. The Museum has two distinct phases: Phase I and Phase II.
 
Phase I: The 100-year-old Gulshan Mahal consists of the Jehangir Bhownagary Hall which is a multipurpose hall with a capacity of around 250 people. It is equipped with the Screen and Projection facility. There is also a permanent stage with Green Rooms. It is surely ideal for organising workshops, conferences and seminars etc.
 
Phase II: The New Block consists of the Museum Office, Workshop Room, Store and Utilities and two Cinema Halls to accommodate 162 and 214 people on the Ground Floor. The Museum has four halls named Gandhi and Cinema, Children’s Film Studio, Technology, Creativity and Indian Cinema and Cinema across India as well. A Food Court and a Curio Shop are also available.
 
The Museum not only provides a storehouse of information to the amateurs but it will also help various other people from the fraternity to know and evaluate the development of cinema as a medium of artistic expression not only in the country but also in all parts of the world. When asked about the impact of the Museum to the International Standing of Indian Cinema, Shri Amrit Gangar, Consultant Curator of NMIC said: “As the first and the single gigantic National Museum of Indian Cinema, it will attract international audiences and attention. So far, the world has an understanding of the history of Indian cinema through books or through actually watching Indian films produced over more than a century of time. But now the world will have a visual experience through this museum. NMIC will surely create a positive international standing of the Indian cinema.”
 
 
A panorama of rare exihibits of Indian Cinema­­­­ inside the Museum 
 
The National Museum of Indian Cinema will cater to the needs of contemporary people for acquainting themselves with the changes in the field of film production and also enlist their active support in appreciating the technological changes in the present media scenario.
 
Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi during his speech said, “Films and society are a reflection of each other. What you see in films is happening in society and what is happening in society is seen in the films. This shows that India is changing. Earlier, poverty was considered a virtue; Films were about poverty, helplessness. Now, along with problems, solutions are also being seen. If there are a million problems, there are a billion solutions.”

 
 
While walking through the corridors of the Museum, one is enticed to think about the socio-cultural impact this Museum shall make. When asked about it, Curator Shri Amrit Gangar said, “Cinema, the part of the body and soul of every Indian, whether professor or a peasant in itself speaks about its immense impact. A film song is a pan-Indian phenomenon, at any given moment, you will listen to a film song even in the remotest corner of the country. It is in itself a socio-cultural phenomenon. Film stars have spawned fashions in clothing and styles, across the country and over phases of time.”
 
He added, “The Museum has also encompassed technology in one of its galleries in the New Building Block. Technology has great socio-cultural implications today, and when a young student looks at the vintage film making equipment and artifacts such as old cameras, projectors and editing machines, she/he will not only be filled with sense of wonder but also a sense of perspective that acts as a bridge between the past and the present and a possible vision into future too.”
  • The Museum provides a glimpse of the evolution of Indian cinema in a storytelling mode with the help of visuals, graphics, artifacts, interactive exhibits, and multimedia expositions. Posters have also been on display to map the journey of Indian cinema over the last century 
  • So far, the world has an rough idea of the history of Indian cinema through books or through actually watching Indian films produced over more than a century of time. now the world will have a visual experience through this museum
 
 
The Prime Minister mentioned that the Museum has 30-hour-long digitised footage of World War II. With this, the valour of 1.5 lakh Indian soldiers who died in that war will be known to the world, he said.
 
The Museum also hosts scenes from landmark films like Dadasaheb Phalke’s ‘Raja Harishchandra’ and ‘Kaliya Mardan’, replicas of old cameras and long lost shooting equipments, and rare photographs. The Museum provides a glimpse of the evolution of Indian cinema in a storytelling mode with the help of visuals, graphics, artifacts, interactive exhibits, and multimedia expositions. Posters have also been on display to map the journey of Indian cinema over the last century.
 
The National Museum of Indian Cinema has comprehended and contextualised cinema which is part of popular culture. But at the same time, it has definite resonances of Regional as well Parallel Cinemas. The verandah of Gulshan Mahal takes visitors through the multiple eras of Hindi and Regional cinema, with the showcase of posters, booklets, lobby cards and other exhibits.
 
For the past two decades, the NMIC could not see the light of the day. First planned in 1997, the project had faced multiple delays in the past two decades. While the restoration of Gulshan Mahal began in 1998, the work slowed down only to be revived in 2012. The Museum was to be inaugurated by 2013, to mark the 100 years of Indian Cinema; however, it got further delayed. Under the leadership of PM Modi and the Information & Broadcasting Ministry, the project was fast-tracked and was finally inaugurated a few days ago.
 
The Museum was refurbished by NBCC (India) Limited under the guidance of the Museum Advisory Committee headed by Shyam Benegal, and an innovation committee headed by Prasoon Joshi. PM Modi, in his long disquisition during the inauguration of the Museum, connected greatly with the people from the Film Business. “I met a few people from the industry a few days ago and one of the issues that they brought to my notice was the difficulty in getting filming permissions. We have started the work of creating an online portal through which all the permissions will be issued in a time-bound manner,” said Shri Modi. Earlier this month several directors and actors had a meeting with him in New Delhi.
 
Shri Modi announced a Pan Country single window system for permissions and also that his government has begun the process of amending the Cinematograph Act, 1952 to make Piracy a stricter offence. He also added that the Government would support, if anyone from the film industry wants to develop a communication and entertainment university in the country.
 
The inauguration of the Museum by Prime Minister attracted hordes of celebrities from the film fraternity. The inauguration ceremony was attended by various Bollywood stars including veteran actor Manoj Kumar, Randhir Kapoor, Aamir Khan, Kangana Ranaut, Filmmaker Karan Johar, Simmba director Rohit Shetty and Zero director Aanand L Rai.