The government is planning to implement several projects to commemorate 2013 as the centenary year of Indian cinema. “To commemorate the release of India’s first film, the National Film Awards ceremony would now on be held on 3rd of May every year,” Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni announced while speaking at the 59th National Film Awards ceremony today. She said “2013 would be observed as the centenary year of Indian Cinema”.
India’s first full length feature film “Raja Harishchandra” was released on 3rd May 1913 at Mumbai’s Coronation Cinema. Speaking about the projects that her ministry had initiated for the centenary celebrations, Soni said a National Heritage Mission to digitalise and restore all audio and video tapes of Indian films would be set up. Rs 500 crore have been set aside in the 12th Five Year Plan for the National Heritage mission, she said.
Soni also mentioned the setting up of a museum of Indian cinema. “It would be housed in the Films Division Complex in Mumbai. The Heritage building of Gulshan Mahal, a popular filming location would be restored by December and the new museum building would be ready before May 2013.” Congratulated the winners of the National Film Awards, she said “regional cinema continued to be the mainstay” of Indian cinema. “The recognition given to offbeat film reflected the depth of national awards on the one hand and at the same time would encourage film makers in many other regional languages to make quality films.” The awards were an “acknowledgement of good cinema irrespective of language barriers and budgetary constraints”, Soni said.
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