The Indian National Film Awards Online Brochure Archive!

Sunday, February 19, 2012
Did you know that the website of the Indian Directorate of Film Festivals has an archives page with scanned images of programs for the Indian National Film Awards from present day back to the first awards ceremony in 1954?!  The scans are of the actual, physical programs that were printed and they are rich sources of film descriptions, stills, and photos, many of which are quite obscure! It's an amazing resource for not only confirming what Wikipedia and other online sources claim about National Film Awards but also for learning about films that have been mostly forgotten or are very difficult to find information on online.  There are also some humorous pictures of directors and actors back when they were significantly younger. :) I've had the funnest time simply browsing.  Do note that the archive is quite disorganized; sometimes the year link is for the year of the awards ceremony and other times for the year of the films recognized (and then the programs themselves sometimes change if they state the awards year or the film year on the front cover-confusing!)

Most of the awards ceremonies recognize lesser-known regional films such as Punjabi, Assamese, and Oriya films.  The Second and Fourth National Film Awards programs (for 1954 and 1956 films) feature lists of all "Feature Films Approved for Public Exhibition" for that year and include the small regional industries!  This is a great research and film/dance-discovery tool because it's difficult to find lists of all Assamese, Oriya, etc., films from those years online.

The programs also reflect the social and cultural mileu through the years.  The First National Film Awards program opens with a quote from the Natyashatra about dramatic performance and then illustrates the "Film in India" section header with an adorable Manipuri dance sketch.  The Second National Film Awards program includes in its Feature Films list a still of Sai-Subbulakshmi in Bharatanatyam costume in the song "Neeli Magan" from Malaikkalan.  All of these inclusions make sense in the light of the time period (1950s) and the renewed interest in Indian dance and ancient culture.  Indian arts/culture make an artistic appearance again in the covers of some of the 1970s programs, but after that there is little dance, art, or cultural iconography in programs from that point forward.  Telling, perhaps?
1953 Awards

1970s Awards
Program covers also reflect changes in popular design through the years from the "50s Diner" look of the 1956 program to the colorful and quirky 1960s programs. For some reason, programs from the 80s onward have the most boring, lifeless covers (or perhaps they are just not part of the scan?)

1956-1963 Awards
Remember the awesome Odissi/Bharatanatyam dance from the 1967 Oriya film Arundhati that I featured on my favorite black-and-white dances post?  Turns out Arundhati won the 1967 National Film Award for "Best Feature Film - Oriya" and the NFA program describes the plot as revolving around a woman (Arundhati) who belongs to a dance troupe that tours the country!  Surely there must be more dances in the film- if only I could find a copy, but I'm not sure where to even start with Oriya films.

A few more fun images from the programs:
1959 Kathakali Documentary
L Vijayalakshmi in Sathya Harischandra (1965)
Padmini and Sivaji Ganesan in Deivaparavi (1960)
Padmini and Sivaji Ganesan, 1968

Kamal Hassan, Saagara Sangamam (1983)

I'll end with my favorite find of the archives: a beautiful photo of Jayalakshmi Eswar's dance in Hamsageethe (Kannada, 1975):


  1. Hello Louella - Long time no see! :) Glad you enjoyed the find.

  2. Ahh what a find! :D I absolutely adore stuff like this, but would have never thought to look for it. Thanks for the heads up.

  3. veracious - Hello! Long time no see as well! :) I know, don't you just love old archival stuff? I spent so much time just reading through the programs- it's lots of fun. Cheers!

  4. Great stuff, Minai! I'm really impressed that they had all these things archived somewhere since the beginning.

    Also, love the blog's new look!

  5. Leaf - Hello! A third long time no see! :D As I browsed through some of the programs I noticed that some of them have handwritten notes on them, underlinings, etc., that made me think perhaps some of the programs were personal momentos attendees or film folks had kept and found in an old box in the attic recently, or something. :)

  6. Fascinating! What an amazing resource. Thanks so much for sharing, Minai.

  7. Hi NewLaura! Glad you enjoyed! :)


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