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First ever Film Archive inaugurated in Assam
Madhumita Goswami | 18 Feb 2011

Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi inaugurated the first ever Film Archive in the North Eastern Region at Panjabari ,Guwahati on Saturday.

ASSAM CHIEF Minister Tarun Gogoi inaugurated the first ever Film Archive in the North Eastern Region at Panjabari, Guwahati on Saturday.

Speaking on the occasion, Gogoi said that a new chapter has been added to the history of Assamese film industry with the coming up of the archive. "Films are part of our lives and they are our assets. It is our bounden duty to preserve the films for posterity," he said.

He said though belatedly a move has been made in the right direction to start an archive to preserve the film made in the State. He also appreciated that films made in other parts of the region apart from Assamese films would be preserved at the archive.
 
The Chief Minister appealed to the filmmakers and film aficionados to lend a help hand towards preservation of as much films as possible for posterity. Assuring of all help and assistance, Gogoi announced Rs 5 crore for further development of the archive.

He said the Government has taken initiatives to help preserve traditional musical instruments, utensils, attires and traditional agricultural implements at Assam State Museum and at Sankardeva Kalakshetra.

Addressing the gathering, former Director, National Film Archive of India, PK Nair, said the step taken by the State Government to set up the archive is a step in the right direction. "With the coming up of the archive films made in local and other languages of the North East can now be retrieved and preserved for posterity," he said.

Nair, the man who has been the brain behind the setting up of the National Film Archive of India, and a consultant with the Film Archive of the North Eastern Region, suggested that efforts should be made to retrieve the original prints of the films so that it could be converted into digital format. "It’s not at all difficult a task to retrieve the 350 odd Assamese films from different sources. One should not lose hope of tracing these films," he said.

He also suggested preservation of non-fiction films as ‘these films record human lives in all its facets’.

Renowned director of Assam Jahnu Baruah, said that the Film Archive has fulfilled a long-felt need of the filmmakers of the North East region ‘as the lack of it had resulted in many a rare films lost forever due to the absence of scientific preservation in the region’. . The internationally acclaimed director further said an archive which is a repository of culture helps to build up the image of the State and its people before the rest of the world.

Chairperson of Assam State Film (Finance & Development) Corporation Ltd (ASFFDC), Bobbeeta Sharma in her welcome address, said that funds from the PM’s MPLAD and State Government have helped towards setting of the archive, a part of Jonakee project.
 
She requested for a corpus fund from the State Government so that a minimum loan of Rs 20 lakh could be extended to a filmmaker for producing a film. She said that steps are being initiated to make use of the Rs 2 crore allocated from the CM’s Special Fund for making films on public-private partnership mode.

Sharma said that out of the 333 films produced so far in Assamese, only 65 could be collected and preserved at the archive, the oldest one being Mak Aru Maram dating back to 1957.

She also said that plans are on the anvil to start the Film Museum this year itself.
The inaugural function, was addressed, among others, by Secretary, Cultural Affairs, Shantanu Thakur and director Surjya Hazarika. MD, ASFFDC, Nazreen Ahmed was present on the occasion.