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Lalit Rao


Mr. Lalit Rao is a film critic from Jaipur, India, FIPRESCI India member. He is currently writing a book on 25 best French films (1990-2015). Apart from ''World Cinema'', he is interested in chess, foreign languages, linguistics and philosophy. Mr. Lalit Rao is advisory board (World Cinema) member of RIFF [Rajasthan International Film Festival]. He is also the associate editor of the quarterly magazine "Cinematography Art". Mr. Lalit Rao has reported extensively on film festivals especially 'World Cinema' through more than 40 blogs and 8 videos channels. Cinema journal ‘Deep Focus’, and ‘Bangalore Film Society’ were represented by him as their correspondent in Paris for 2005-2006. He also presented a paper on Canadian cinema entitled ‘A brief overview of Francophone cinema in Québec’ during 20th International Conference on Canadian Studies, University of Rajasthan, Jaipur, 27-29 February, 2004. Apart from writing 1000 reviews on IMDB, Mr. Lalit Rao has created KINEMA, a database with information on 25,000 films. His articles in French and English have appeared in Deep Focus, Kinoglaz, Objectif-Cinema, Sancho Does Asia and Séquences. Mr.Lalit Rao studied Master 2 at Université de Paris 3 Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris where he worked on ‘Distribution of Indian cinema’ in France. As a film critic, Mr. Lalit Rao has attended numerous film festivals in France and India.

 


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“Yesterday’s films for tomorrow” by P.K.Nair = An indispensable book for anybody who considers cinema as an art form.

“Yesterday’s films for tomorrow” by P.K.Nair = An indispensable book for anybody who considers cinema as an art form which needs to be preserved at all costs.

                             © Mr.Lalit Rao (FIPRESCI)

“Yesterday’s films for tomorrow” has been penned by one of world’s foremost authority on film archiving Mr P.K.Nair. This book is meant for readers who consider cinema as an art form which needs to be preserved at all costs. Film archiving, per se, is considered to be a highly technical domain whose comprehension requires a specialized knowledge as well as a planned training. This book is unique as it furnishes rare insights into the esoteric realm of film archiving without embroiling readers with any kind of technical jargons.

As it is an easy to read book, one should not follow any specific pattern in order to fathom its contents. However, it is advisable that readers approach it by bearing in mind what appeals to them the most. For example : a reader interested in cinema as an observer can choose to read “The Film Critic” section whereas a reader whose interest in cinema lies in being a perfect moviegoer should read “The Moviegoer” section.

Writing this book’s preface, advertising filmmaker Shivendra Singh Dungarpur-Director, Film Heritage Foundation describes how a precious legacy was accorded to his organization by Mr PK Nair in the form of personal diaries and files which contained numerous articles, letters and notes revealing his perennial relationship with the world of cinema. In many ways, this book pays copious tributes to the “Celluloid Man” who paid equal attention to cinema and its diverse facets like form, function and moving image. Apart from his place of birth Trivandrum, PK Nair spent a large part of his life at Pune where he worked at Film and Television Institute. Both cities find mention in the book as they enabled him to watch films as well as work on their preservation.

These days, it has become almost customary for anybody interested in cinema to discuss at length what links it to entertainment and technological advances. In many ways, PK Nair emerged as a pioneer as in 1976 he emerged as the lone cinéphile who evaluated the intrinsic role of entertainment for cinema. Reading his views, one cannot help wondering how the predilection for entertainment drove numerous Indian filmmakers to the path of making films for masses without any artistic value.

“The Moviegoer” gives detailed information about PK Nair’s initiation into cinema. It talks about efforts made by him to watch as many films as possible at a time when his family didn’t approve of cinema. Apart from films, Indian director Mehboob Khan and one of the most ignored technicians of cinema “The Projectionist” are discussed with enormous enthusiasm. Reading this section, readers are able to decipher that the quality of projection of films has been ignored in India. A solution has also been provided as PK Nair states that it is only through training that one can procure skilled projectionists for the screening of films.

It is unfortunate that there are not so many professionals who would make a career in the field of film preservation in an “obsessed by cinema” nation like India. However, there is ray of hope for youngsters as PK Nair shares valuable information about film preservation in the section “The Archivist”. He discusses key topics such as film preservation in India especially its beginnings. He also pays special attention to all the key problems which one encounters while trying to preserve films. There is also a compilation of ten films which PK Nair misses the most. Reading this list, one is shocked to find that Indian cinema’s first talkie ‘Alam Ara” finds a mention in it. PK Nair completes this section by sharing his knowledge about role of the archive in film culture, lost films, copyright, what to preserve, film documentation and research.

In the section “The Film Historian”, PK Nair discusses how Indian cinema came into existence. He also discusses immense contribution of film director Dadasaheb Phalke, mythological films, censorship, expansion of regional cinemas, film studios as institutions, IPTA (Indian People’s Theatre Association), new wave cinema, regional cinema and Malayalam cinema.

There are not many readers who know that PK Nair was also an active member of FIPRESCI (India). In the section “The Film Critic”, one discovers new facets of PK Nair as a discerning film critic who regales readers with notes about films written in darkness, song in Indian cinema, syndrome of the film “Devdas”, partition in Indian cinema, analysis of 3 films directed by Adoor Gopalakrishna and an important chapter on the imperfect cinema of maverick Malayalam cinema maestro late John Abraham especially his masterpiece Amma Ariyan. Two key topics discussed by PK Nair as a columnist in “The Columnist” concern new approaches in training future filmmakers and whether the days of celluloid films are over ?   

“Yesterday’s films for tomorrow” should be purchased and read by all film lovers as it is a perfect amalgamation of diverse topics related to the world of cinema namely magic of old Indian cinema, importance of all kinds of films, the role of film societies, cinema as entertainment and technological advances in the field of cinema.

© Mr.Lalit Rao (FIPRESCI)

 

 

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About Lalit Rao

RAO Lalit

Mr. Lalit Rao (member-FIPRESCI) writes for this website on a regular basis as a film critic publishing reviews on his profile

In February 2017, he participated as jury member during  9th Bangalore International Film Festival 2017.

In 2014, he attended 19th International Film Festival of Kerala 2014 as a member of film critics’ jury.

As a film critic, Mr.Lalit Rao has attended film festivals in India as well as France namely International Film Festival of India (IFFI), International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK), Festival International de Films de Femmes de Créteil, Paris : Cinéma du Réel-Festival International de films documentaires, Est-ce ainsi que les hommes vivent? Saint-Denis, Rencontres Internationales du Cinéma de Patrimoine, Vincennes & Festival International des Cinémas d'Asie, Vesoul. 


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