Trial by Fire

An article in The Indian Express covering the re-release of the Apu Trilogy across cinema halls in the US. Read full article here:        

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India’s Top 10 Lost Films – Compiled by P.K. Nair

Adopting the perspective of Vidur- the chief advisor to the Kauravas, who, for ethical reasons, sided with the Pandavas prior to the great war of Kurukshetra- the film ‘Bhakta Vidur’ sought to hold a moral lens to the struggle between British colonialists and the Indian resistance.

Indian Cinema – A Lost Heritage

Until 1951, most film stock used cellulose nitrate as the film base. Commonly known as gun cotton, cellulose nitrate or nitrocellulose was a known explosive. The industry soon found out the hard way that reels of nitrate film were highly flammable and would spontaneously combust while inside projectors, vaults, warehouses and on studio floors.

Khoon ka Khoon (Hamlet), 1935, 122 mins

This was the first adaptation of a Shakespearan drama in Indian cinema. Largely a filmed version of a stage performance of the play, the film contains a towering performance by Sohrab Modi in the central role of Hamlet, and is an astute adaptation of the original Shakespeare play. The film marked the feature debut of Naseem Banu, as Ophelia.

Zindagi (Life), 1940, 120 mins

One of the highest grossing films of the 1940s, the music for the film was composed by Pankaj Mullick. The film saw P.C. Barua coming together once again with K.L. Saigal along with the actress Jamuna. It was a film that not only challenged social mores but also explored the complexities and consequent disillusionment of an unusual platonic relationship between an unmarried couple living together.

Seeta (1934), 119 mins

A mythological film with a stellar cast featuring Prithviraj Kapoor as Ram and Durga Khote as Seeta along with some of the most high-profile actors of the time, the film broke new ground by becoming the first Indian film to gain international exposure: it was screened at the 1934 Venice Film Festival where Debaki Bose won an award, the first Indian filmmaker to do so on an international platform.

Mill (Mazdoor), 1934, 142 mins

This is the only film written by the acclaimed writer Munshi Premchand in which he also played a cameo. The film courted controversy owing to its story of a prodigal son of a benevolent mill worker who inherits the mill and proceeds to treat its workers with disdain.