Pritam brings alive 'Raja Harishchandra' at IIFA Rocks

Music composer Pritam Chakraborty resurrected Dadasaheb Phalke's classic "Raja Harishchandra" with his soulful and riveting live music at the IIFA Rocks. DH file photo

Music composer Pritam Chakraborty resurrected Dadasaheb Phalke's classic "Raja Harishchandra" with his soulful and riveting live music at the IIFA Rocks.

The ace composer led a live orchestra that played in sync with a 13-minute-long screening of Phalke's 1913 silent film in the penultimate segment of the sidebar event of the Indian International Film Awards (IIFA).

Actor-director Konkona Sen Sharma had announced the segment at the event, which was hosted by Ayushmann Khurrana and Kartik Aaryan.

"You are going to watch something amazing. You are going to watch a film like people used to 100 years ago when a live orchestra would accompany a film. A similar is going to happen," Sen said.

She noted that "Raja Harishchandra", made by Phalke, originally had four reels. However, the second and third reels were destroyed, making it a partially lost film.

As the portions of the remaining reels were screened at the event, Pritam and his band wove a heartfelt score that gelled well with the visuals of the timeless classic.

Earlier, Sen made an impassioned plea towards film preservation and highlighted the case of India's first talkie film, "Alam Ara", which started a revolution in the Indian cinema.

"We have failed to archive our works in the past... Over the years, many of our masterpieces have been destroyed in humid rooms and studio fires. The silent era of Indian cinema— from 1899 to 1931 — has 1300 titles and less than 28 remain today," Sen said.

"Many precious pieces of history have been lost forever. It saddens me tremendously that we will never able to watch India's first talkie 'Alam Ara' in its entirety. The film's negatives were sold for a paltry sum of silver," she added.

Sen also lauded the efforts made by National Film Archive of India and National Film Development Corporation of India towards archiving and restoring old films.

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Pritam brings alive 'Raja Harishchandra' at IIFA Rocks

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