NFAI acquires rare footage charting Pune’s industrial growth

35-minute film features C. Rajagopalachari addressing a gathering in the city

The city-based National Film Archive of India (NFAI) has acquired a rare half-hour footage which details Pune’s industrial and infrastructural growth in the post-Independence era.

Prashant Girbane, director-general, Mahratta Chamber of Commerce Industries and Agriculture (MCCIA) handed over the 1,200-ft film reel to Prakash Magdum, Director, NFAI on Thursday.

The MCCIA, which was established in 1934 and caters to industries across Maharashtra, is one of the few surviving trade associations in the State from the pre-Independence era.

Speaking about the footage, Mr. Magdum said that the 35-minute-long film chronicled major events in the MCCIA’s organisational history from the late 1940s to 1960s.

“At the beginning of the footage, a title card establishes an event as the ‘Maharashtra Industrial Conference of 1948’. The footage features events till the early 1960s. In effect, the footage acts as a veritable mirror in detailing the rise of Pune as a modern, urban metropolis. Importantly, towering statesman, historian and freedom fighter C. Rajagopalachari is seen participating in a 1948 function,” he said.

Speaking on the portion featuring ‘Rajaji’, Mr. Magdum said that the title card reads: “Visit of His Excellency, C. Rajagopalachari, First Indian Governor General of India”.

“The footage includes his felicitation followed by an address to a packed audience. Unfortunately, the soundtrack is missing from this portion,” Mr. Magdum informed.

Predominantly black and white, the footage also features colour segments.

The major highlights of the film are snippets from events such as the MCCIA’s Silver Jubilee ceremony, the inauguration of the MCCIA building at the city’s Tilak Road, the trade association’s monthly magazine Sampada (which started in 1947), and an event featuring the late, noted Indian business tycoon S.L. Kirloskar.

Mr. Magdum said the footage was priceless as it also covered the growth of prominent city establishments like the Bank of Maharashtra and the Pune Division Productivity Council.

While handing over the film to the NFAI, Mr. Girbane said: “We discovered this footage recently in our premises and thought it fit to hand over to NFAI. We have requested NFAI to digitise this valuable film.”

“The initial inspection suggests that the footage is in good condition and we will take efforts to digitise the same,” said Mr. Magdum, adding that he had requested the MCCIA to facilitate reaching out to old industrial organisations in the city for securing similar films of historic value.

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