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India Heritage Museum in collaboration with the George Eastman Museum presents "Indian Cinema: A Rochester Connection"

Rochester, N.Y., April 29, 2021—India Heritage Museum will present a new visual arts exhibition, Indian Cinema: A Rochester Connection, beginning Saturday, May 8, and running through Sunday, June 13. This free exhibition includes contemporary Indian film posters provided by the George Eastman Museum and can be viewed at the Vinod and Vinay Luthra India Heritage Center at 2171 Monroe Wayne County Line Road, Macedon, 14502. The exhibit can be visited on Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. 

For the exhibition Indian Cinema: A Rochester Connection, India Heritage Museum has invited the George Eastman Museum to tell its story of the rescue and preservation of a large group of Indian films and ephemera from an abandoned Southern California multiplex cinema in 2014. This collection includes 774 film prints representing 597 titles—all in 35mm format and made between 1999 and 2013.

“The Indian motion picture industry is an important center of cinematic creativity and often produces the largest number of films annually,” said Bruce Barnes, Ron and Donna Fielding Director, George Eastman Museum. “We have a shared goal with India Heritage Museum to make Indian cinema accessible. By doing that, we can ensure these films are able to be seen by present and future audiences, encouraging greater understanding and appreciation of Indian film heritage.”

More than 50 film posters will be on view in Indian Cinema: A Rochester Connection, representing a range of titles, including Swades: We, the People (Ashutosh Gowariker, India 2004), Black (Sanjay Leela Bhansali, 2005) and Guru (Mani Ratnam, 2007).

Indian Cinema: A Rochester Connection is the fifth exhibit of India Heritage Museum,” said Vinod Luthra, Co-Chair, India Heritage Museum. “We are very pleased to collaborate with the George Eastman Museum to showcase their work in preservation and collection of Indian and South Asian Cinema.”

The purpose of the exhibit will be to add relevance of the George Eastman Museum collection in two unique ways. India Heritage Museum will add a historical overview of Indian Cinema since 1913, and the exhibit will also include personal memories and connections of the Rochester community with Indian Cinema.

“As the world’s largest film industry, producing more than 2,000 films per year, Indian Cinema is continuously growing and evolving. India Heritage Museum will demonstrate this through an interactive exhibit with a number of virtual and in person activities for visitors,” added Luthra.

India Heritage Museum volunteers will be available to provide historical and personal context of the featured films, as well as personal stories of how the Indian film industry is connected to the Rochester area. India Heritage Museum will host a virtual musical preview party and a closing event is also planned.

Like many commercial studios throughout cinema’s history, Indian film studios have not customarily preserved their film prints after release, allowing many titles to be lost. As an international institution dedicated to preserving and promoting the art of film in all its forms, the George Eastman Museum has spent decades searching for Indian films to add to its collection and is now the steward of the largest collection of South Asian 35mm film prints outside India. Indian films acquired by the museum between 2014 and 2020 include titles from not only the Hindi-language film industry commonly known as Bollywood, but also Malayalam, Punjabi, Tamil, and Telugu productions.

In 2017–18, the George Eastman Museum featured the Indian cinema collection in Stories of Indian Cinema: Abandoned and Rescued, which included an exhibition in the museum’s main galleries and film screenings in its Dryden Theatre. For more information, visit eastman.org.

For more information on Indian Cinema: A Rochester Connection, visit ihmrochester.org.

About India Heritage Museum
India Heritage Museum (IHM) was formed in 2019 as a DBA of the Hindu Heritage Summer Camp, Inc. The primary objective of the IHM is educational, to create awareness in the Rochester community of the culture, art, tradition, diversity, and technological advances of India and to highlight the accomplishments of Indo-American community of Rochester. The IHM plans to present a series of exhibits to accomplish its objective. Indian Cinema: A Rochester Connection is the fifth exhibit of IHM. The first four exhibits were Indo-American Artists of Rochester, States of India—through the lens of youth, Religions of India and Punjab: Land of Five Rivers.