INDIA. Mumbai: Intending to rationalize infrastructure, manpower, and other resources, the Union Information and Broadcasting ministry has decided to merge four of its film media units, namely Films Division(FD), Directorate of Film Festivals(DFF) in India, National Film Archives of India (NFAI) and Children’s Film Society, India (CFSI) with the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) Ltd.
A proposal to merge these units was approved by the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday. These units will be brought under one umbrella organization by expanding the Memorandum of Articles of Association of NFDC, which will then carry out all the activities hitherto performed by them. The merger of film media units under one corporation will lead to convergence of activities, resources, and better coordination, thereby ensuring synergy and efficiency in achieving the mandate of each media unit, the I & B Ministry stated in official communication.
An exercise of convergence
The Union Cabinet also approved the appointment of a Transaction Advisor and Legal Advisor to advise on the transfer of assets and employees and to oversee all aspects of operationalization of the merger. While undertaking this exercise of convergence, the interests of the employees of all the concerned media units will be fully taken care and no employee will be retrenched, the I & B Ministry added.
Consequent upon the merger, these units will be uniquely placed about promotion, production, and preservation of filmic content – all under one management. The vision of the new entity will be to ensure balanced and focused development of Indian cinema in all its genres-feature films, including films /content for the OTT platforms, children’s content, animation, short films, and documentaries.
FD, the oldest organization
Films Division, a subordinate office of the I&B ministry was established in 1948, primarily to produce documentaries and news magazines for publicity of Government programs and cinematic record of Indian history. The FD is the oldest visual media organization of the I&B Ministry. The CFSI, an autonomous organization, was founded in 1955 under the Societies Act with the specific objective of providing children and young people value-based entertainment through the medium of films. It organizes the National Children’s Film Festival (NCFF) in a bid to expand the market for Children’s films and encourage talent in the country. Both the FD and CFSI are functioning from the FD complex located at Pedder Road in South Mumbai.
NFAI, a treasure trove of oldest films
NFAI, was established as a media unit in 1964 by the I & B Ministry with the primary objective of acquiring and preserving Indian cinematic heritage. This includes preservation of film and non-film material including but not limited to celluloid, stills, glass slides, posters, lobby cards, scripts, and song booklets. Being the national custodian for the preservation of audio-visual heritage, NFAI is committed to the acquisition, preservation, restoration, and dissemination of India’s socio-cultural heritage. NFAI collaborates with national and international institutes to not only promote Indian cinema but also to bring world cinema home in the form of film festivals, seminars, and workshops. It is a member of the International Federation of Film Archives.
With headquarters at Pune(Maharashtra), NFAI has three regional offices at Bangalore(Karnataka), Calcutta (West Bengal), and Thiruvananthapuram(Kerala). NFAI has a treasure trove of over 1.5 lakh films from the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII), FD, NFDC, and CFSI. In recent times, NFAI has acquired films from RK Studio, V Shantaram Foundation, directors Subhash Ghai, Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Basu Bhattacharya, and the unfinished works of Ritwik Ghatak.
The Directorate of Film Festivals(DFF) was set up as an attached office of the I&B Ministry in 1973 to promote Indian films and cultural exchange. Located at Siri Fort Auditorium, New Delhi, it is an organisation that initiates and presents the International Film Festival of India, the National Film Awards and the Indian Panorama.
The merger of these units under a single corporation is expected to help coordinate different activities with better and efficient utilization of misting infrastructure and manpower. Besides, the merger is also expected to reduce duplication of activities and consequent saving to the exchequer. With the production of over 3000 films in a year, India is the largest film producer in the world with an industry-led by the private sector.