(India, 1948) by Uday Shankar
Written by: Uday Shankar, Amritlal Nagar. Director of photography: K. Ramnoth. Set Designer: K.R. Sharma. Music: Traditional Indian Music. Editing: N.K. Gopal. Production: Uday Shankar Production. Starring: Uday Shankar (Udayan & Writer), Amala Uday Shankar (Uma), Lakhmt Kanta (Kamini), Dr. G.V. Subbarao (Drawing Master), Brijo Behari Banerji (Uma’s Father). Running time: 155’. Country of production: India. Language: Hindi. From: National Film Archive of India
Restored in 2012 by the World Cinema Foundation at Cineteca di Bologna/L’Immagine Ritrovata Laboratory from original film elements preserved at the National Film Archive of India. Special thanks to Shivendra Singh and the family of Uday Shankar.
ABOUT THE FILM
A great work of hallucinatory, homemade expressionism and ecstatic beauty, Uday Shankar’s Kalpana (Imagination) is one of the enduring classics of Indian cinema. Shankar, the brother of the great Ravi Shankar, was one of the central figures in the history of Indian dance, fusing Indian classical forms with western techniques. In the late 30s, he established his own dance academy in the Himalayas, whose students included his brother Ravi and future filmmaker Guru Dutt (who worked as an assistant on Kalpana). After the closure of the academy in the early 40s, Shankar started preparations on his one and only film, many years in the making.
Kalpana, with an autobiographical narrative of a dancer who dreams of establishing his own academy (starring Uday Shankar and his wife, the great Amala Shankar – the film also marks the debut of Padmini, who was 17 years old at the time), is one of the few real “dance films” – in other words, a film that doesn’t just include dance sequences, but whose primary physical vocabulary is dance. A commercial failure when it was released, the film is now regarded, justifiably, as a creative peak in the history of independent Indian filmmaking.
NOTES ON THE RESTORATION
Kalpana has been digitally restored by the World Cinema Foundation at Cineteca di Bologna/L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory using a combined dupe negative and a positive print held at the National Film Archive of India.
The combined dupe negative was badly damaged and marked by lines, tears, dirt, dust, white marks and poor definition. The restoration required a considerable amount of both physical and digital repair in order to recover the beauty of faces, movements and costumes, and to reduce the aforementioned issues. The original sound was digitally transferred from the combined dupe negative. Digital cleaning and background noise reduction was applied.
The restoration has generated a duplicate negative, new optical soundtrack negative for preservation as well as a complete back-up of all the files produced by the digital restoration.