Movie Mahal documentary

Every autumn Channel 4 screens its longest Bollywood season of the year.

In 2009 ‘the golden age of Indian cinema’ was the theme for a run that featured the films of Raj Kapoor, Guru Dutt, Dilip Kumar, Nargis and others.

The first of the films, Mother India, was preceeded by a 75 minute Movie Mahal special. I’ve had a couple of comments on A Tangle Of Wires recently asking if I know where to get hold of this film – I don’t, but on behalf of you dear readers I tried to find out a little more about it.

So, not for nothing was the Contact Us page invented, and I emailed Channel 4 about it.

First a little information about the documentary and the Movie Mahal series, which ran between 1987 and 1989 (full list of episodes).

The Movie Mahal programme that Channel 4 screened 18 months ago was a 75-minute special, The Golden Years of Indian Cinema, based on the series of the same name and covered Hindi cinema from the late 1940s to the early 1960s.

The programme focused on songs, singers, composers and lyricists, with interviews with Lata Mangeshkar, Helen, Javed Akhtar and Gulzar as well as archive footage featuring songwriters and singers Talat Mahmood, Majrooh Sultanpuri and Laxmikant.

It also looked at the work of actors including Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand and Amitabh Bachchan.

Unfortunately for those looking, Channel 4 told me it has no plans at present to repeat the documentary .

A spokesman said: “We don’t automatically have the rights to release all the programmes we broadcast on DVD and as a rule we tend to choose titles to release that we feel will be financially viable.

“Unfortunately, this particular programme was not released through Channel 4 DVD or any other distributor, and we have no plans to do so in the future.”

Presumably to forestall anyone asking,  he added: “We are sure you can appreciate, we receive hundreds of calls and letters requesting copies of programmes that were not released commercially, therefore, Channel 4’s policy is that we do not provide one-off copies.”

So that’s it. No plans to show it again. No plans to release it on DVD.

6 responses to “Movie Mahal documentary

  1. would love to see and buy movie mahal. Channel 4 pleaseeeeee
    release it on DVD.
    thank you

  2. The programme was produced by Nasreen Munni Kabir who is easily available on email so may be it’s worth contacting her. Also my nana-ji recorded many programmes in the series but would need to locate where they are and check against the list.

    • hi

      it wouls br gr8 if such docs are uploaded to you tube if any of u have them,i feel we need to share such rare things with other passionate cinema lovers ,there are so few docs on indian cinema in general,no autobiographies,making of movies,dvd extras etc ,such pathetic sad state of bollywood

      if such kind of doc exists i would love to pay money also but i doubt if its possible,so if any of u lucky ones have it,kindly be sharing enf to upload on youtube etc,just a rqest frm a passionate cinema lover

  3. Hi Rahul,

    I agree with you – there are already some Movie Mahal uploads on youtube. I’ve not had a chance to check my grandfather’s videos but if there are any not available on YT I will surely try and upload them.


  4. Would love to watch both the series of the history of Indian Film Industry on DVD. They should made available on DVD formate, please………………

  5. Pingback: Sunday afternoon at the movies with Papa « Thinking from here to there

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