Dr C S Venkateswaran and filmmaker Shivendra Singh Dungarpur | Photo: Special arrangement
The ‘In Conversation’ series of the 26th IFFK began on Saturday with the interaction between leading film critic Dr C S Venkateswaran and filmmaker Shivendra Singh Dungarpur. Dungarpur, who belongs to an erstwhile royal family and is the nephew of late cricket administrator Raj Singh Dungarpur, wears many hats; he is not only a filmmaker but also a restorer, conservator, archivist and producer from Patna and the founder of Film Heritage Foundation in Mumbai. The session started with tributes paid to Dungarpur for restoring Kummatty, a 1972 movie directed by late G. Aravindan which is among the films featured in this edition of the IFFK.
The conversation centered on the movies of G. Aravindan and Shaji N. Karun, which represent the unique aspects of Kerala. Dungarpur noted that it was his fascination for such uniqueness, which inspired him to restore movies like Kummatty. He talked about the challenges of restoring black and white and colour films as well as the transformation from celluloid to digital movies. He also explained the practical difficulties in organising finance for such efforts and collecting materials for the restoration process in India.
Dungarpur also stressed on the need for the public and private film organisations to collaborate for the betterment of National Film Archives.
The session concluded with an advice from Dungarpur to aspiring filmmakers that to be a good filmmaker, one must know the history of one’s own cinemas. No effort should be spared to preserve films for posterity, he said. A man who practices what he preaches, he declared his intention to restore Thampu, another classic by Aravindan, and release it early next year.