Celluloid Man is a 2012 documentary film directed by Shivendra Singh Dungarpur that explores the life and work of legendary Indian archivist P. K. Nair, founder of the National Film Archive of India and guardian of Indian cinema.

Celluloid Man
Celluloid Man Poster.jpg
Directed byShivendra Singh Dungarpur
Music byRam Sampath
CinematographySantosh Thundiyil
K. U. Mohanan
Abhik Mukhopadhyay
P. S. Vinod
H. M. Ramachandra
R. V. Ramani
Vikas Sivaraman
Mahesh Aney
Kiran Deohans
Ranjan Palit
V. Gopinath
Edited byIrene Dhar Malik
Dungarpur Films
Release date
  • 26 June 2012 (2012-06-26) (IL Cinema Ritrovato)
  • 3 May 2013 (2013-05-03) (India)
Running time
150 min

Celluloid Man has been screened at 50 film festivals – one of the few Indian films to have been selected for such a high number of festivals. The film has won two National Awards at the 60th National Film Awards, including Best Biographical Film and Best Editing for Irene Dhar Malik.[1] The film was released in India on 3 May 2013 to coincide with the centenary of Indian cinema.[2][3]


P. K. Nair’s fascination with cinema began as a child and he watched his first few films lying on the white sand floor of a cinema in Trivandrum. He was a collector even then - collecting ticket stubs, lobby cards, even weighing machine tickets sporting pictures of the stars of the day. He grew up to be a great collector of films.

1,700 films were made in India during the silent film era, of which only nine survive thanks to the efforts of Nair. He travelled to remote parts of India to collect and save cans of rare films. The fact that Dadasaheb Phalke is recognized today as the father of Indian cinema is Nair’s doing. He tried to save any film that he could get his hands on, be it world cinema, Hindi popular films or regional Indian cinema. He even took world cinema to the villages of India.

He has influenced generations of Indian film students especially the Indian New Wave filmmakers such as Mani Kaul, Kumar Shahani, Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Ketan Mehta, Saeed Akhtar Mirza, Jahnu Barua, Girish Kasaravalli, John Abraham (director), Vidhu Vinod Chopra and Kundan Shah.

The film is woven with interviews of several filmmakers and film personalities who have been influenced directly and indirectly by P. K. Nair, among them Krzysztof Zanussi, Lester James Peries, Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Saeed Akhtar Mirza, Gulzar, Basu Chatterjee, Naseeruddin Shah, Kamal Haasan, Girish Kasaravalli, Jahnu Barua, Jaya Bachchan, Dilip Kumar, Saira Banu, Sitara Devi, Santosh Sivan, Rajkumar Hirani, Shyam Benegal, Mahesh Bhatt, Yash Chopra, Ramesh Sippy, Mrinal Sen and Surama Ghatak.

Besides the interviews, the film has rare footage from early Indian masterpieces like Raja Harishchandra, Kaliya Mardan, Gallant Hearts, Marthanda Verma, Jamai Babu, Fearless Nadia, Sant Tukaram, Achut Kanya, Kismat, Chandralekha and Kalpana - all films that were archived and thus saved by Nair.


The production started at the end of 2010 and the film was completed in June 2012.

The film has been shot in Warsaw, Colombo, Pune, Nasik, Mumbai, Chennai, Thiruvananthapuram, Heggodu, Bengaluru and Kolkata, and eleven cinematographers worked on it: Santosh Thundiyil, K. U. Mohanan, Abhik Mukhopadhyay, P. S. Vinod, H. M. Ramachandra, R. V. Ramani, Vikas Sivaraman, Mahesh Aney and Kiran Deohans.[4]

The film was shot on 16mm film and then converted to 35mm, with an aspect ratio of 1.85: 1.


Celluloid Man has won two National Awards in India at the 60th National Film Awards for the Best Historical / Biographical Reconstruction and for Best Editing in 2013. It has also won the "Nestor The Chronicler" award for the best archival film for Celluloid Man at the XII Kyiv International Documentary Film Festival 2013, Ukraine.

Shivendra Singh was given the Bimal Roy Memorial Emerging Talent Award for his film Celluloid Man at a ceremony on 18 October 2013

Shivendra Singh Dungarpur was awarded the Special Jury Award for Celluloid Man at the 13th edition of the Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF) 2014 on February 9, 2014.


No Film Festival Name Place Screening Date
1 IL Cinema Ritrovato 2012 Bologna 25–26 June 2012
2 39th Telluride Film Festival[5] Telluride 1 September 2012
3 50th New York Film Festival[6] New York 4 October 2012
4 14th Mumbai Film Festival[7] Mumbai 22 October 2012
5 43rd International Film Festival of India Goa 21 & 27 November 2012
6 17th International Film Festival of Kerala Trivandrum 12 & 14 December 2012
7 42nd International Film Festival Rotterdam Rotterdam 28 & 31 January 2013
8 36th Goteborg International Film Festival Goteborg 26–29 January 2013
9 37th The Hong Kong International Film Festival Kowloon 24 March & 2 April 2013
10 2nd Sierra Leone International Film Festival Sierra Leone 13 April 2013
11 1st Scarborough Film Festival Toronto 8 June 2013
12 XII Kyiv International Documentary Film Festival Kyiv 21 May 2013
13 Seattle International Film Festival Seattle 30 May & 1 April 2013
14 16th Shanghai International Film Festival Shanghai 15 June 2013
15 2nd International Film Festival of Fiji Suva Fiji 12–26 July 2013
16 Vladivostok International Film Festival Vladivostok 10 September 2013
17 Film South Asia 2013 Kathmandu 3–6 October 2013


  1. ^ "60th National Film Awards Announced" (PDF) (Press release). Press Information Bureau (PIB), India. Retrieved 18 March 2013.
  2. ^ "PK Nair, the reel historian". India Today. 3 May 2013. Retrieved 5 May 2013.
  3. ^ "The Celluloid Man: PK Nair & the future of our cinematic past". Sunday Guardian. May 2013. Retrieved 5 May 2013.
  4. ^ InCamera, 29 August 2012: Celluloid Man Archived 10 September 2012 at the Wayback Machine Linked 2013-11-01
  5. ^ "Film on National Film Archive of India director to be screened at US", The Times of India, 31 August 2012.
  6. ^ "Celluloid Man", New York Film Festival (accessed 2012-09-04).
  7. ^ http://www.mid-day.com/lifestyle/2012/sep/020912-Watchdog-of-Indian-cinema.htm

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