In a virtual ceremony, which is slated to take place on March 19, Indian screen legend Amitabh Bachchan will be awarded the 2021 FIAF Award by The International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF). Bachchan’s name was nominated by the FIAF affiliate Film Heritage Foundation, founded by filmmaker and archivist Shivendra Singh Dungarpur. Martin Scorsese and Christopher Nolan, who share a long-standing relationship with India through their affiliation with the Film Heritage Foundation, will virtually present the award to India’s biggest superstar for his dedication and contribution to the preservation of the world’s film heritage. He will be the first Indian to receive this global award. Martin Scorsese (2001), Ingmar Bergman (2003) and Christopher Nolan (2017), have been some of the recipients of this honour in the past.
Speaking about the honour, Amitabh Bachchan states, “I am greatly honoured to receive this award for a cause that I am deeply committed to. When I became the ambassador of the Film Heritage Foundation in 2015, 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 them to do everything in our power to save our films and build a movement for film preservation in our part of the world. We must strengthen the idea that film archiving is as essential as filmmaking, and I do hope that we are able to garner further support for this 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.”
Martin Scorsese adds, “Safeguarding cinema is a global cause. Amitabh Bachchan’s advocacy for preserving India’s film legacy has been exceptional. With a career spanning over five decades, he is a celebrated actor who has put the considerable weight of his reputation behind the cause of film preservation in India and the entire subcontinent. They could not have chosen a more deserving individual to recognise this year.”
Further stressing on the need to preserve our film heritage, Nolan says, “I know how imperative it is that representatives of the film industry around the world come together to ensure that we preserve our film heritage. I want to congratulate Amitabh Bachchan on receiving the 2021 honour. He has played an essential role in putting the cause of film preservation on the map in India and the subcontinent.”
Talking about why AB truly deserves this prestigious award, Frédéric Maire, President, FIAF explains, “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. By presenting this award to Amitabh Bachchan, we want to show the world how rich and diverse this unique film heritage is. We want to publicly thank him for his role as a high-profile advocate for film heritage, in India and beyond.”
Shivendra Singh Dungarpur says, “India’s record in film preservation is dismal. Our foundation has been working relentlessly to preserve what remains of our endangered film heritage. We have been fortunate enough to enjoy the support of Amitabh Bachchan, who has championed the cause of saving our film heritage.”
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