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My 'Double Life' at Films Division - Part 2

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Didn't I mention earlier that the film laboratory person at Mahim talked about the state of affairs at Films Division? Well, that day he said something else too. Their laboratory often processed and bulk printed the ‘News Magazines’ that were to be shown compulsorily in movie theaters; after Films Division supplied it with the negatives of the films. The laboratory person had then whispered into my ears something to this effect, “They would order let's say X number of prints that were to be kept in X number of cans for a pan India release. Now, who knows what would be inside those X number of cans? Tell me... who knows? "  
Well, it seems in retrospect, that whisper that day encapsulated in itself the crux of the matter that has been plaguing the organization over the years. Who knows what would be in those cans? Who knows, what are the Films Division films that were being screened at theaters across the country; and how many? Who knows, what are kind of films that Films D…

My 'Double Life' at Films Division - Part 1

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My association with Films Division first began when my school friends graphically described to me on how Sunil Gavaskar and Gundappa Vishwanth hit boundaries upon boundaries in the 1971 test match against the mighty West Indies team in the Caribbean islands on a newsreel that they saw before the main movie in a local theater, in the early seventies. A couple of days later I did sneak into the movie hall only to savor one of the most significant overseas test cricket victories that the Indian team had  since it started playing cricket
Newsreels such as these were produced by Films Division, an organization under the aegis of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting of the Government of India. The exhibition of these newsreels were mandated by law - a practice first initiated in pre-independence India by the British, mainly to promote their war efforts. 'The Information Films of India', was what the unit was called then. After independence, this unit was transformed to what i…