It was in the early days of my second year when I heard someone say that Christopher Nolan will be coming to IIT Bombay’s annual fest. I took the burden of carrying that message to every person I would meet on my way to the hostel room. I would stop them, initiate the conversation with some day-to-day topics and smartly insert one question,
“Do you know who’s coming to IITB’s fest as a chief guest?”
The answer was obviously, “No”, followed by, “Who’s coming?”
The curiosity seed would be sowed inside my fellow chatter by then. A smirk would make its way on my face, a pride while I answered their curiosity laden question.
As much excitement I showered into those two words, I expected their eyes to widen and their mouth to make a big Whoooaaaahh! But none of that happened. Instead they shot another question towards me,
Now people, this is the moment when the excitement on my face would drain away within a flash, so quick, that it won’t even require one whole second. Then, as a protocol, I would stare at them for a few seconds and ask,
“You don’t know who Christopher Nolan is?”
Next step. Time to leave. But with a face, with an expression which clearly showcased that, from the moment the person said “Umm.. Noo”, I started considering them inferior.
The truth was quite the opposite. Let me confess.
The way I asked the question, the way they replied, the way I would react to their reply and then walk out of the conversation all of a sudden, was all planned. The blunt truth was I too didn’t know who Christopher Nolan was. But later, when my interest increased into Hollywood movies, I found out.
With his every movie I got to know more and more about him. Each of his new release would excite me like a child after seeing ice-cream. Today, I feel so exhilarated that I got a chance to sit just a few feet away and listen to the same man whom I faked to know a few years back. I never even thought that Nolan would visit India let alone watching him live, which by the way, would be into the deepest layer of my dreams.
But last weekend proved that anything is possible in life. Film Heritage Foundation, the foundation working desperately for a cause we all should be worried about, brought greatest dignities from around the world who believe in this cause and are willing to be a part of it.
During the early years of cinema there were no digital cameras like today. And celluloid films were used to shoot the picture. The beauty of this medium was it gave the spectrum of visuals so beautifully that it can’t be matched even with today’s digital technology. But, with time and with the evolving technology, films started going out of the picture. Except few dedicated film-makers no one even considered to use this medium.
In India, 99% of the silent era films have been lost. The task is to preserve whatever is left and save this medium from becoming extinct. And who else than Christopher Nolan himself! Who still uses celluloid to shoot his films. In India, the founder of Film Heritage Foundatioin Mr. Shivendra Singh Dungarpur, we can say, has stood up as the ‘Savior of films’ during the crisis. His never-ending efforts for this cause since 2014 attracted two of the world’s best artists – Tacita Dean and Christopher Nolan.
The event not only gave Nolan’s huge fans like me to listen him live but also created awareness about the cause they are fighting for. Today’s generation youth aren’t aware of celluloid let alone its importance. And, let me tell you, FHF has succeeded in spreading the much needed awareness among the youth.
From watching Interstellar the way it was intended to be seen, to listening to these great people talk about the future of film, last weekend was an experience.
Today, I don’t leave the conversation all of a sudden if the person I’m talking to doesn’t know who Christopher Nolan is. Instead, I ask them to sit and tell them who he is, why his every movie is special, how it was shot, why celluloid is important, and the thousand ways they can kill themselves because they didn’t know any of these things before.