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The vault is now open at the NCPA!

Archives from Indian and Western music, dance, soliloquies, plays and artiste interviews,

are now easily accessible for research and reference

Mumbai 2023: Archiving was a priority of Dr Jamshed Bhabha and the NCPA in order to preserve the finest performances and maintain the legacy of great masters. An initiative undertaken since its inception, the NCPA continues to maintain an extensive archival program to enable access to artistes, students, researchers, art enthusiasts and especially the younger generations. The repository is now made accessible for the public to explore them for reference, devoid of any charges.

The NCPA archives are home to classics such as The Apu Trilogy and Bala by Satyajit Ray, P.L Deshpande's Ek Zunj Varyashi, recordings of Meet the Artistes - Ravi Shankar interviewing Zakir Hussain. The vast library of music greats includes Begum Akhtar, Bismillah Khan, Ali Akhbar Khan, Girija Devi and a host of other icons. Video recordings of stalwarts of dance such as Kelucharan Mohapatra, Mrinalini Sarabhai and Sonal Mansingh to name a few. To augment the dissemination of the treasures of the archives, the Indian Music Department introduced guided listening sessions in the form of Nad Ninad: From the Archives. Open to all and free of charge, the most recent of these saw an eight-part series on the artistry of Vilayat Khan.

The two preservation vaults are where all the alchemy is stored and looked after- one for audio and film and the other for photographic material. This meticulously designed repository has double walls for thermal insulation, lined with aluminium foil and painted with special paints to make the brick walls impervious to weather conditions and to ensure that they maintain the internationally recommended temperature between 21 and 23 degrees and relative humidity between 45 and 50 per cent.

With the advancement in technology and dramatic changes in the means to access art today, the role of archives has undergone a change as well. The NCPA's archival efforts continue even today with comprehensive documentation of the artistes performing here. The colossal storehouse of Indian classical music documentation includes the annual festivals Aadi Anant, Bandish, Sama'a: The Mystic Ecstasy, a festival of Sufi music, and the Guru in Residence sessions with Hindustani music exponent Ajoy Chakrabarty. The diverse collection also features Naseeruddin Shah's Manto, Ismat ... Haazir Hain (2019), Puccini's opera Tosca (2010) and a host of Parsi plays.

According to Mr. Khushroo N. Suntook, Chairman at the NCPA, the methodology was incorporated to “Preserve the archives for posterity and keep increasing its research value as an extension of the NCPA’s continued cultural expression.” The archives have been welcoming students, artistes, foreign visitors, critics and academics for years. One can easily access the NCPA archives by following a simple procedure. The catalogues can be browsed by visiting the NCPA Library or clicking on the link mentioned at the end. After filling out a brief form, a suitable appointment is scheduled, subject to the availability of the studio.

The full catalogue of NCPA archives can be accessed online now on NCPA Music Library (Application form available here). preview section is your best, most complete guide for all the theatre/films , big and small, coming your way soon. Happy Reading! Follow our channel here.

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