Megastar Amitabh Bachchan will be honoured with an award by the International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF).
The veteran actor will be the first Indian cinema personality to be bestowed with the FIAF Award for his dedication and contribution to the preservation of the world’s film heritage.
Hollywood filmmakers and previous recipients of the FIAF Award — Martin Scorcese and Christopher Nolan — will present the award to Bachchan during a virtual showcase scheduled to take place on March 19.
The FIAF is a worldwide organisation, comprising of film archives and museums from across the world.
“This year FIAF celebrates the twentieth anniversary of its annual Award. To mark this momentous occasion, there could be no better recipient than one of the world’s greatest movie stars, and one who has understood, embraced, and publicised the cause of film preservation for years,” Frederic Maire, President of FIAF, said in a statement.
“By presenting our prestigious FIAF Award to Amitabh Bachchan, we want to show the world how rich and diverse, but also how fragile, this unique film heritage is, and we want to publicly thank Bachchan for his role as a high-profile advocate for the rescue of this heritage, in India and beyond,” he added.
Bachchan’s name was nominated by the FIAF affiliate Film Heritage Foundation.
Founded by filmmaker and archivist Shivendra Singh Dungarpur, Film Heritage Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to the preservation, restoration, documentation, exhibition, and study of India’s film heritage.
Bachchan said he is honoured to receive the award for a cause he is “deeply committed.”
“It was when I became the ambassador of Film Heritage Foundation in 2015, that I realised the extent of the neglect and colossal loss of our precious film heritage and how we continue to lose more of our legacy every day. Recognising the urgency of the situation, I have been working closely with Film Heritage Foundation since its inception to do everything in our power to save our films and to build a movement for film preservation in our part of the world,” the 78-year-old actor.
Bachchan stressed that it is important that the idea of film archiving is strengthening and promoted in India.
“I do hope that we are able to garner further support for this most essential cause from my colleagues in the film industry and the government, to enable us to realise our dream for building a centre that will preserve and showcase our magnificent film heritage,” he added.
Nolan, who has been a vocal advocate of celluloid films, said it is imperative that representatives of the film industry around the world come together to ensure the preservation of film heritage.
“I want to congratulate Amitabh Bachchan on receiving the 2021 honour. As the ambassador for Film Heritage Foundation, he has played an essential role in putting the cause of film preservation on the map in India and the subcontinent,” he added.
Dungarpur said India’s record in film preservation has been dismal as the country lost almost 70% of its films.
“This has been a cause that has been much neglected in our part of the world, and we have been fortunate enough to enjoy the unstinting support of our ambassador, Amitabh Bachchan, who has championed the cause of saving our film heritage and constructively wielded his influence to amplify the cause on a war footing in our part of the world.
“This is the reason we nominated him for the award, and he was unanimously voted by all FIAF members to be given the award,” he said.
Previous recipients of the FIAF Award include Manoel de Oliveira, Ingmar Bergman, Geraldine Chaplin, Hou Hsiao-hsien, Peter Bogdanovich, Nelson Pereira dos Santos, Rithy Panh, Liv Ullmann, Kyoko Kagawa, Agnes Varda, Jan Svankmajer, Yervant Gianikian and Angela Ricci Lucchi, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Jean-Luc Godard and Walter Salles.