A Journey Through 105 Years of Indian Cinema

Deepika Agrawal & Divya Sethu


India's First Film Museum Opens In Home Of Bollywood
National Museum of Indian Cinema in Mumbai, Credits: NDTV

On January 19, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated India’s first National Museum of Indian Cinema, in Bombay.

The Museum holds archives of 105 years of cinema, covering more than a century of film-making, the most popular medium of storytelling, with the help of visuals, graphics, memorablia, interactive exhibits and multimedia expositions.  

Preserved artifacts in the museum, Credits: NDTV

According to Voice Online, the museum displays a collection of rare artifacts like vintage cameras, projectors, old and new editing and recording equipment, costumes, photographs and other materials since the dawn of Indian cinema in 1913 with the first full-length feature film “Raja Harischandra” made by the legendary Dhundiraj Govind Phadke, known as Dadasaheb Phalke. The museum also holds  film sets, props, film tapes, sound tracks, trailers, transparencies, and a rich collection of film-related literature and memorablia depicting Indian film history in a chronological order.

There are 9 sections in the museum, which include “The Origin of Cinema”, “Cinema comes to India”, “Indian Silent Film”, “Advent of Sound”, “The Studio Era”, “The impact of World War II”, “Creative Resonance”, “New Wave and Beyond” and “Regional Cinema”.

During the inauguration, Mr. Modi addressed a large crowd, which was comprised of many Bollywood personalities like Manoj Kumar, Aamir Khan, A. R. Rahman, Asha Bhosle, Pandit Shivkumar Sharma, Randhir Kapoor, Karan Johar, Madhur Bhandarkar, Kiran Shantaram, Boney Kapoor, David Dhawan, Rohit Shetty, Waheeda Rehman, Jeetendra Kapoor, Asha Parekh and many others.

Galleries inside the National Museum of Indian Cinema (NMIC), Credits: NDTV

 Films are identified with social changes. They help unite people who speak different languages. They help boost tourism and employment opportunities.

Those who visit 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.

There are a few gaps in the museum, as many of India’s early films were never preserved and other artifacts were damaged over the years. For instance, the last remaining print of India’s first “talkie”, the 1931 “Alam Ara” (The Light of the World), was destroyed in a fire in 2003.

The following video is a 3D view walk through the National Museum of Indian Cinema (NMIC)