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February 3, 2019

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First Indian film museum opens in home of Bollywood

FROM silent black-and-white films to colorful blockbusters bursting with song and dance, the evolution of Indian cinema is traced by a new museum in the home of Bollywood. Costing 1.4 billion rupees (US$19.6 million), India’s first national film museum is spread across a stylish 19th-century bungalow and a modern five-story glass structure in south Mumbai. Movie-mad India today produces around 1,500 films a year, dwarfing even Hollywood’s output.

The government-funded National Museum of Indian Cinema boasts stacks of memorabilia, recordings and film-making tools as well as interactive touch screens where visitors can watch clips from memorable movies.

Movie buffs can learn about India’s first full-length feature film, the 1913 Dadasaheb Phalke-directed “Raja Harishchandra,” and listen to recordings of K. L. Saigal, considered the first superstar of Hindi-language cinema.

The museum takes visitors through “the journey of Indian cinema, from silent films to ‘talkies’ to the studio era to the new wave,” said Prashant Pathrabe, director general of the Indian government’s film department.

The museum also celebrates the movies made in the various regions and languages across India. It hosts replicas of the Mutoscope, the camera used by the Lumiere Brothers, and the Praxinoscope — a spinning cylindrical animation device invented in France in the 1870s.


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