Where the celluloid memories nestle


MUMBAI: The Indian film industry now has a new address: 6,000 sq feet heritage building Gulshan Mahal at Pedder Road in tinsel city Mumbai. Incidentally, the Sanjay Dutt comedy Munna Bhai MBBS was shot there.


Gulshan Mahal houses the National Museum of Indian Cinema (NMIC) created at a budget of $25 million funded by the Central Government and curated by the Kolkata-based National Council of Science Museum.

This is an initiative of the National Film Heritage Mission under which the famous films of India has been digitized. Showcasing of the pioneer era will enable you transcending into different phases of the Indian film industry that now has changed totally.

Walking through the corridors and galleries of NMIC, India’s first and only film museum, one can make a nostalgic journey to the bygone era of the country’s celluloid industry glimpsing at how the bold Bollywood changed over the decades.

Here, you can see the 80-years old old Eymo and Mitchel cameras and recording equipment of the yester era. An Advisory Committee headed by Shyam Benegal was formed to create this museum.

At Gulshan Mahal, you can have a peep into the erstwhile days of the black and white genre, wherein performance in the films was ruled with muted gestures, mime and inter-title cards. Here, you would know how the Bollywood switched over to black and white to colour, silent to sound mode and finally descending to present high-tech film making.

The film making in India began in 1896 when the Lumiere Brothers produced short silent films. But Indians foraying into film making began in 1913 when Dadasaheb Phalke created the first feature film ' Raja Harishchandra'.

Hardly anybody knows that the making of ' Raja Harishchandra' began from Bombay's Red Light areas convincing prostitutes to play female roles in his film. But they would not agree as acting in films then was below the dignity of an Indian woman, even by the prostitutes.

Finally, a male was taken to work for the role of Raja Harishchandra’s queen. The major part of the shooting ' Raja Harishchandra' was done in Dadar area of Mumbai.

Collections of the bits and pieces of the film industry, personalities, vintage memorabilia, showbiz treasures like props and scripts would become the schooling study material for the new Bollywood aspirants who hardly know what the film industry was in the days of their grandparents.

Here, you can glimpse at the bygone Golden Era: the era of V. Shantaram, Raj Kapoor, Dev Anand, Kishore Kumar and Guru Dutt who had ruled the film industry in 1940s to '60s. Every naive emotion of mankind blossomed at the hands of these past masters.

V Shantaram, creator of immortal movies including Amar bhopali, Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje, Do Aankhen Baarah Haath and Marathi Manoos (noticed by Charlie Chaplin), figures very prominently at the NMIC.

The Bollywood’s “Showman” Raj Kapoor has been wonderfully showcased here in the sideline of his romantic films like Awara, Aah, Shree 42 and Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai. So is Dev Anand of such movies like 'Baazi', 'Nau Do Gyaraah', 'Taxi Driver' and 'House No.44'.

The tragedy king of Bollywood Guru Dutt, known for his Pyaasa, Kagaj Ke Phool and Sahab Bibi Ghulam has been given a very prominent place in the museum. Kishore Kumar, creator of Half Ticket, Padosan and Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi, figure here as the benchmark for the Bollywood comedy films.

Being at the par of Hollywood which has its museum made a long time ago, this museum has definitely taken a toll of a time to be showcased but will definitely prove to be one of the finest amusements for the country.  

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