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Kapoor family hands over negatives of all RK films to NFAI for preservation

At the opening of the Pune International Film Festival, brothers Randhir, Rishi and Rajiv Kapoor officially handed over the films to NFAI director Prakash Magdum.

PIFF director Dr Jabbar Patel and NFAI director Prakash Magdum receive the negatives of the 21 films produced under the RK banner from Rajiv, Randhir and Rishi Kapoor. Photo: PIFF

Suparna Thombare

Twenty-one films produced under the legendary RK Films banner, starting from Aag (1948) and Aa Ab Laut Chalein (1999), will now be the responsibility of the National Film Archive of India in Pune.

At the opening ceremony of the Pune International Film Festival (PIFF), filmmaker Raj Kapoor's sons Randhir, Rishi and Rajiv officially, via a symbolic reel can, handed over the negatives of the films, many of them classics of Hindi cinema, to NFAI director Prakash Magdum.

A fire at the RK Films studio in Chembur, Mumbai, on 16 September last year had destroyed much of the film memorabilia and costumes stored there, but luckily the negatives of all the films produced under the RK banner remained safe.

Soon after, the Kapoor brothers decided it would be best for the NFAI to look after them from here on.

"I have shot extensively in Pune with my father since 1967," Rishi Kapoor said on the occasion. "Pune is my second home."

Explaining the move to hand over the negatives to the archive, Rishi continued, "We had a devastating fire in our studio, which brought down all the walls. That is not tragic. The thing that we lost all the memorabilia and publicity material of Raj Kapoor, that was a very sad thing. I can rebuild the walls of the studio, but I can't bring back that memorabilia.

"That is why Randhir took the decision that our negatives, which is actually our wealth, should be given to someone who is responsible and should be stored in a certain place that is there forever."

Randhir Kapoor said he was happy that the Raj Kapoor films would be stored in Pune, since the filmmaker had a special connection with the city.

"Raj Kapoor's heart was in Pune," he said. "And he made most of his films, starting with Mera Naam Joker (1970) right till Ram Teri Ganga Maili (1985), most of his work was done in Pune.

"Today we brothers are happy that we are leaving the negatives of our films with the NFAI. And I pray to Prakash and the rest of his colleagues to please look after them. We have preserved it so far with a lot of love and now we are handing it over to you."

NFAI director Magdum said, "It is a matter of pride for us at the National Film Archive to receive the iconic footage of an artiste who ruled for more than 50 years. I am really grateful to the Kapoor family for entrusting this entire heritage of Indian cinema so that it can be preserved not just for this generation, but for generations to come.

"We know Raj Kapoor as a great producer, great director, but I must say he was a great archivist also. He had very meticulously preserved all his films from 1948 till his last film. And I am very happy that this has now come to NFAI."

PIFF is also doing a restrospective on Raj Kapoor this year.

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Pune International Film Festival