Khandhar (1984) at Cannes Classics
Back from the grave
One of the two Indian films being screened at Cannes this year is a restoration of the 1984 Hindi film Khandhar. It has been selected for the Cannes Classics at the 63rd Cannes Festival, one of the world’s oldest and prestigious film festivals, which commences runs till May 23.
Directed and co-written by Mrinal Sen, famed for his political films, Khandhar stars Shabana Azmi and Naseeruddin Shah. The Cannes jury had written to Mrinal Sen asking him to submit the film last year for the Cannes Classic section, but the print quality was in poor condition.
“They asked for it again this year and it just happened that a pristine restoration had been done,” explains Anil Arjun, CEO of Reliance MediaWorks, the company that restored it.
The Cannes Classics section is a non-competition section that aims to celebrate classic films from the past with brand new or restored prints. Khandhar shares space with 12 other films in that category, including Psycho (1960) by Alfred Hitchcock and Le Grand Amour (1987) by Pierre Etaix. Khandhar has been subtitled into French especially for the festival.
It took 5,000 man-hours to restore Khandhar into a fresh 35mm reel at the restoration facilities in Navi Mumbai.Restoring films is a complex arduous process that involves removing dust, scratches, fungus, tears, water damage, distortions and stains, frame by frame, and restoring colour and faded images. Haziness and noise is also removed from the sound. It can cost anywhere from Rs 5 to Rs 50 lakh, depending on the level of restoration required. Khandhar has been restored to pristine condition.