The National Museum of Indian Cinema has acquired a rare collection of around 200 cameras and other artefacts, including an original rare Magic Lantern with glass slide / frame and a replica of the telescope used by Neil Armstrong, the first man to land on the moon. These artefacts have been donated to NMIC by Ms. Shobha Nayyar, daughter of Late Shri Kahan Chand Nayyar, who was a passionate amateur photographer and an IAS officer of the Maharashtra cadre.
The other items of donation include an 8 MM portable projector, a vintage flash gun, polaroid cameras, Bencini Comet III Camera, Coronet Midget (a tiny box camera), Munchen Antique Miniature Camera, Benecini Koroll 24S & Field Camera, a Baldalux Folding camera made by Blada in the 1950s, Mamiya Camera made during the 1940s and an 8 mm Spool Film Camera made in 1954.
Speaking on the occasion, Ms. Shobha Nayyar said: “My father was a collector of books and cameras; our house was full of both. It took me around 2-3 years to study all the cameras my father had collected, to learn to use them and to catalogue them. I have always wanted that my father’s invaluable collection of film-related equipment finds its place in a museum of the stature of NMIC, which will preserve it and make it available for the masses. I am happy that the process of handing over these items could be completed in just 47 days. I am very happy that my father’s name too is there.”
Addressing the media on this occasion, Director General of Films Division, Shri Prashant Pathrabe said:
“The collection donated by Ms. Nayyar is a very big and rare collection. We are very delighted that she has taken the decision to share it with the Museum.
Through the media, I make an appeal to the film fraternity, especially the senior members of the industry, to donate historical film artefacts to the museum, so that the whole society would benefit from it.”
While exhorting the general public to visit the museum, Shri Pathrabe said that NMIC has reached out to various schools, colleges and educational institutions, encouraging them to undertake study visits. He informed about plans to start a library containing film-related books and old copies of film magazines.
Shri Pathrabe further said: “We are keen on arranging film screenings together with National Film Archive of India. NMIC showcases the 100-year history of Indian Cinema; while the focus of the Museum is on classical cinema, the Museum will try to cater to popular cinema. Efforts are being made to augment the collection of artefacts on regional cinema as well.”
The DG also announced that NMIC has acquired the oldest and finest collection of film costumes, properties, posters and literature from iconic Bengali films which were in the possession of M/s. Aurora Film Corporation, one of the oldest film production-distribution companies in Kolkata. The collection includes a number of original costumes and properties which were used in well-known Bengali films such as Jalsaghar, Bhagini Nivedita, Raja Rammohan, Arogya Niketan; booklets of the films Pather Panchali, Sada Nander Mela, Debdut Dakaterhathe, Arogya Niketan, Jalsaghar; posters of the films Moyna Tdanta, Ora Thakey Odharey, Harish Chandra. and Duronto Joy. These artefacts not only reflect the era of discovery of a new form of entertainment in Indian cinema, but also incorporate devotion and experimentation of a group of dedicated persons who were the real architects behind this form of entertainment.
Referring to the donation by Ms. Nayyar, Nodal Officer, (NMIC), Shri Anil Kumar said that it is very difficult to get such a rare collection from a single source.