Museum that captures history of Indian cinema

It's all about lights, camera, action...!

What is black and white? What are colour and contrast? Which is the first Indian film? What's the importance of Watson Hotel? Have you seen a bioscope? Or for that matter, a magic lantern?

If you want to know the answers to these questions and much more, a visit to the National Museum of Indian Cinema (NMIC), located at the Films Division campus at Pedder Road in Mumbai, is a must.

The museum, which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last month, tells the story of Indian cinema right from its humble origins till what it is today.

It takes visitors through an absorbing journey of over a century of Indian cinema in a storytelling mode with the help of visuals, graphics, artefacts, interactive exhibits and multimedia expositions.

The state-of-the-art museum, built at a cost of Rs 140.61 crore, is housed in the New Museum Building and the 19th-century historic palace, Gulshan Mahal.

The New Museum Building has four exhibition halls in four floors: Gandhi & Cinema, Children's Film Studio, Technology, Creativity & Indian Cinema, and Cinema Across India. 

Gandhi & Cinema not only depicts the movies made on the life of Mahatma Gandhi but also showcases the deep impact his life had on cinema.

The Children’s Film Studio gives visitors, particularly children, an opportunity to explore science, technology and the art behind film making.

It offers hands-on experience on various facets associated with cinema including camera, light, shooting and experience of acting presented in an interactive format.

The exhibits displayed include chroma studio, immersive experience zone, stop-motion animation studio and virtual makeover studio.

The section on technology showcases the creative use of technology by the Indian filmmakers over the years to produce a cinematographic impact on the silver screen, while Cinema Across India showcases the charismatic kaleidoscopic presence of the vibrant cinematographic culture across the country.

The other building, the Gulshan Mahal, has been divided into nine sections viz. The Origin of Cinema, Cinema comes to India, Indian Silent Film, Advent of Sound, The Studio Era, The impact of World War II, Creative Resonance, New Wave and Beyond and Regional Cinema.

It's interesting to look at instruments like praxinoscopes, zoetropes and mutoscopes that were once essential to film making and screening.

"Right from the silent era to talkies to the advent of colour to large format film to 3D and digital, the museum has on display the history of Indian cinema," an NMIC official said.

Gulshan Mahal features the early history of Indian cinema, starting with that famous first show of the Lumiere brothers’ films at Watson’s Hotel in Mumbai in 1896.

Here, quite a space has been devoted to the first silent movie in India, Raja Harishchandra made by Dadasaheb Phalke in 1913, and the first film with sound, Ardeshir Irani’s Alam Ara in 1931.

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Museum that captures history of Indian cinema

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