Starring Dhritiman Chatterjee and Debraj Ray, the Bengali feature was the first film in the auteur's Calcutta trilogy.
National Film Archive of India to restore Satyajit Ray’s Pratidwandi
Mumbai - 03 Jan 2022 20:28 IST
The National Film Archive of India (NFAI) has begun restoring Satyajit Ray’s Pratidwandi (1970). Starring Dhritiman Chatterjee and Debraj Ray, the Bengali feature was the first film in the auteur's Calcutta trilogy, Seemabaddha (1971) and Jana Aranya (1976) being the other two.
Based on Sunil Gangopadhyay’s novel, Pratidwandi features Chatterjee as a young man, Siddhartha, frustrated by the system that causes him to abandon his studies and take up employment to survive. Ray called it "the most provocative film he had made" till then.
Celebrating Ray’s centenary, the national archive has begun looking at the filmmaker’s other works that haven’t been looked at as yet. Archive director Prakash Magdum told The Hindu newspaper, “Pratidwandi was available in poor quality, possibly because it was obtained from some other transferable source in the late 1990s or early 2000s. The film’s producer Purnima Dutta was contacted for the original camera negative. Fortunately, she had kept it with her in Kolkata for 50 years.
“The upheaval that Calcutta was going through in the late 1960s and early 1970s is portrayed most sensitively and impressionably in Pratidwandi,” he added.
The archive director also stated that he was elated that the original negatives were in good shape after all this time.
Magdum said the Bengali film will first be digitized in 4K resolution using state-of-the-art archival film scanners manufactured by Munich’s ARRI (named after its founders August Arnold and Robert Richter), who are also known for manufacturing first-rate film cameras.
Only after the digitization is completed can the restoration begin. The whole restoration will require a lot of time as the restorers have to look at each frame. “One second is equivalent to 24 frames of scanned film," Magdum said. "But once the restoration is over, film lovers will enjoy the opportunity and experience of watching the classic in its original avatar.”
The archive recently added 31 Hindi feature films to its collection, including six rare features starring Master Bhagwan from Lalach (1948) to Bachke Rehana (1949).
Related topicsIndian cinema