wiki:Film Division

Version 3 (modified by UshaR, 11 years ago) (diff)


Films Division

Est: 1949. A ‘ mass-media unit’ run by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, it is ‘the central film-producing organisation responsible for the production and distribution of newsreels, documentaries and other films required by the Government of India for public information, education and for instructional and cultural purposes’ (UNESCO report, 1973; quoted in Jag Mohan, 1990). Until the post- Emergency period which saw, for the first time, the independently made documentary (cf. Anand Patwardhan), the Films Division had the monopoly on documentary cinema in India, making upwards of 200 shorts/ documentaries and weekly newsreels (Indian News Review). Each film had over 9000 prints and was dubbed into 18 Indian languages and exhibited through compulsory block booking in every permanent cinema in the country. Its early work used imagery today considered typical of the iconography of the Nehru era, such as N.S. Thapa’s documentary on the Bhakra Nangal dam (1958), and connects via the war propaganda productions of the [[Film Advisory Board]] with the British documentary tradition pioneered by John Grierson, a link further strengthened by film producers Jean Bhownagry, James Beveridge (Shell Film Unit) and, briefly in the late 60s, film-maker Basil Wright working at Films Division on loan from UNESCO. Best-known 70s work was by Sukhdev]]. Recent productions include [[Shyam Benegal]]’s feature-length documentaries Nehru and Satyajit Ray (both 1984) and Mani Kaul’s Siddheshwari (1989). However the bulk of the Films Division’s enormous output is by inhouse film-makers.