Pune: India’s pioneering film archivist and film scholar P.K. Nair, who won the epithet ‘celluloid man’ for his impeccable body of work as the founder and former director of the National Film Archive of India (NFAI), breathed his last on Friday morning. He was 82.
Filmmaker and film archivist Shivendra Singh Dungarpur, whose 2012 documentary film “Celluloid Man” explored the life and work of Nair, shared the news with IANS.
He said the veteran was in critical condition since the last 10 days, and passed away at 11 a.m. at a hospital here due to cardiac arrest.
“Tomorrow (Saturday) his body will be kept from 8 a.m. in the morning at NFAI and the cremation will take place after that,” Dungarpur, also the founder director of Film Heritage Foundation, added.
Born in 1933 in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, Nair’s interest in films began with 1940s Tamil mythological dramas such as “Ananthasayanam” and “Bhakta Prahlada”.
His stint with the NFAI started in 1965 as assistant curator. And 17 years later, in 1982, he became its director.
When he retired in April 1991, he had collected over 12,000 films, of which 8,000 were Indian. These include the works of legendary filmmakers such as Satyajit Ray, Ritwik Ghatak, Mrinal Sen, V. Shantaram, Raj Kapoor and Guru Dutt.
Nair also archived films of international stalwarts like Ingmar Bergman, Akira Kurosawa, Andrzej Wajda, Miklos Jancso, Krzysztof Zanussi, Vittorio De Sica, and Federico Fellini.
Terming his death as “the end of a great chapter”, an emotional Dungarpar said: “He contributed to developing not only film archiving, but also a generation of filmmakers. He was the man responsible for NFAI.”