The National Film Archive of India (NFAI) has acquired films and other material from the personal collection of Mahendra Kumar, a close associate of veteran director Ritwik Ghatak.
Mahendra Kumar, who worked as an assistant cameraman with Ghatak for many years, is also a celebrated still photographer. His personal collection included celluloid film reels, photographs, 35 mm colour positive slides, posters, scripts, cameras, lenses, books, journals and other miscellaneous items.
The material was earlier housed in Kolkata-based Centre for Studies in Social Sciences and is now being transferred to NFAI for better preservation.
Kumar’s collection is voluminous and requires to be catalogued and stored the right way. According to a preliminary study, the collection has more than 166 photographs, 2300 colour positive slide films, 350 negative film stripes and about 60 cans of film reels.
The oldest photograph goes back to the 30’s. Rare photographs of dancer Uday Shankar and his troupe, film posters of Nagarik, Subarnarekha and Titas Ekti Nadir Naam of Ritwik Ghatak are also a part.
The NFAI had only three years back acquired three unfinished films of Ritwik Ghatak-Kato Ajanare (1959), Bangar Banga Darshan (1964) and Ranger Ghulam (1968) from the West Bengal government archives.
Apart from that, they have also restored six of his films, namely namely Ajantrik (1958), Bari Thekey Paliye (1959), Meghe Dhaka Tara (1960), Komal Gandhar (1961), Subarnarekha (1962), Jukti Takko Aar Gappo (1974).