The Films Division (FD), the Children’s Film Society of India, the Directorate of Film Festivals and the National Film Archive of India have been merged with the National Films Development Corporation (NFDC). All activities under these film bodies will be transferred to NFDC from January 1, 2023, says a notice on FD’s official website.
Although the decision of the merger was announced in December, 2020, by the Union government, the finality was brought home to filmmakers and almost 300 employees, who were distraught when they learnt about the news on its website.
“As Films Division, National Archives, and Directorate of Film Festivals shut down today to merge into a juggernaut of propaganda, I know India to be a little less of a home today,” tweeted film critic and journalist Bedatri Datta Choudhury.
“The country’s cinema has defined the way I see the world. A lot of that is changing today. For worse,” added Choudhury.
“#RIP National Film Archives of India. Films Division. Directorate of Film Festivals,” read film critic Namrata Joshi’s tweet.
Filmmaker Jai Mehta tweeted: “The National Film Archives of India is no more. Let that sink in. A new year for the world. But the saddest day in Indian cinema.”
In December 2021, nearly 1,539 persons including actors, filmmakers and other members of the Indian film industry had sent a letter to the ministry against the government’s decision to merge all the branches of the Films Division, Directorate of Film Festivals, National Film Archive of India (NFAI) and Children’s Film Society of India with the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC).
The ministry had announced in December 2020 to merge the four public bodies with NFDC, a “loss-making” public sector undertaking.
In the letter, dated December 19, 2021, the signatories expressed surprise that the 2019 Bimal Julka High-Powered Committee report was submitted “without engaging with the primary stakeholders”, including “members of the film fraternity and employees of the above-mentioned institutions”.