India’s First Film Museum Opened in the Heart of Mumbai

India’s First Film Museum Opened in the Heart of Mumbai

India's first film museum opens to the public

Bollywood lovers can now trace the evolution of the Indian cinema from the silent black-and-white movies to colourful blockbusters bustling with music and dance in a recently inaugurated museum in the heart of Mumbai.

It is India’s first national film museum, built at a cost of 1.5 billion rupees which is equal to 19.6 million US dollars. This new tourist attraction is spread over a modern 5-storey glass structure and a stylish 19th-century bungalow in south Mumbai.

The consulting curator of this project, Amrit Gangar, highlighted that this new museum is a great initiative to showcase the development of the Indian cinema that is over 100 years old.

The National Museum of Indian Cinema (NMIC) was built on public funds and features the rich history of the Indian cinema via recordings, stacks of memorabilia, film-making tools, and interactive touch screens playing memorable movie clips for the museum’s visitors.

Visitor enloying the National Museum of Indian Cinema

Visitors can enjoy the recordings of India’s first Hindi-language superstar K L Saigal. They can also watch the first Bollywood full-length movie produced by Dadasaheb Phalke, directed by Raja Harishchandra, and released in 1913.

The cinema also showcases hand-painted movie posters including the 1955’s hit movie Pather Panchali directed by Satyajit Ray. Visitors can also click photographs with a statue of Raj Kapoor, the internationally acclaimed Bollywood icon.

Raj Kapoor’s Statue at National Museum of Indian Cinema (NMIC)

The director general of Indian government’s film department, Prashant Pathrabe, told reporters that this cinema is not just limited to Hindi-language movies, in fact, it features the history of movies belonging to all the 25 different regional languages of the country.

This museum is not just limited to movie clips and posters, but it also contains the historical equipment used for film making throughout the lifespan of Bollywood. It has the replicas of the camera known as Mutoscope, which was used by the Lumiere Brothers and French spinning cylindrical animation device known as Praxinoscope developed during the 1870s.

The idea of NMIC was developed in 2006 and was set to inaugurate in 2014 when the heritage building’s exhibition rooms were ready to host the visitors. However, the opening was delayed due to the government’s decision of introducing a new wing. It has a separate section dedicated to the independence hero Mahatma Gandhi and how he impacted the cinema throughout the world.

The visitors in the museum are mesmerised by the grandeur of this cinema. One such visitor, Maria Jones, who came all the way from the southern Indian state of Kerala, expressed her fascination by saying that she had never seen such a huge museum about cinema. She was quite excited to explore the various sections of the museum and was enchanted by the old film-making equipment present in the cinema.

The interior view of the National Museum of Indian Cinema

Although the museum has a lot of history showcased in it, there are still some gaps that couldn’t be fulfilled because of the damaged artefacts such as the last print of 1931 Alam Ara, India’s first “talkie” which was lost in a fire in 2003.

Still, officials believe that it is a great educational platform for Bollywood lovers. 

All images are copyright and credited to Channel News Asia