PK Nair, India’s ‘Celluloid Man’ Passes Away
82-year-old film archivist and scholar, PK Nair breathed his last on Friday morning. The founder and former director of National Film Archive of India (NFAI) had been in a critical condition for over a week and was consequently admitted to a hospital. He passed away due to a cardiac arrest at 11 am on the hospital bed. The news was shared by his fellow film archivist and filmmaker Shivendra Singh Dungarpur, who informed IANS about his demise. His body will be cremated on Saturday.
Nair delved into the academic world of films after joining FTII in 1961. In 1965, he was appointed as assistant curator of the newly founded NFAI, which he helped form. After years of burning the midnight oil, his dedication brought him to become the director of NFAI. By the time he reached his retirement, Nair was proud to have collected as many as 12,000 films.
What’s incredible is that the man didn’t contain his curiosity within the bandwidth of Indian cinema, he was equally interested in films from across the borders. Hence, his archives also contain the works of international legends like Akira Kurosawa, Miklos Jancso, Vittorio De Sica among many others.
In 2012, Dungarpur made the documentary Celluloid Man, about PK Nair’s passion for cinema and his dedication towards the preservation of films.
Nair’s death is a deep loss for the Indian film industry and perhaps brings an end to a glorious era that he’d created.
He contributed to developing not only film archiving, but also a generation of filmmakers. He was the man responsible for NFAI . Tomorrow (Saturday) his body will be kept from 8 am in the morning at NFAI and the cremation will take place after that.Shivendra Singh Dungarpur, Film archivist and filmmaker