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Will a Restored 'Pyaasa' Win at the Venice Film Festival?

2 Sep 2015, Wednesday

The red carpet rolls out at the world’s oldest film festival later today. The 72nd Venice International Film Festival opens with the screening of the adventure drama Everest, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Sam Worthington, Keira Knightly, Josh Brolin and others.

But what makes this edition of the festival special for India is the scheduled screening of the restored version of Guru Dutt’s classic Pyaasa (1957)The film will compete with 20 other prestigious restored films from around the world for the ‘Venice Classics Award’, for the best restored film.

The new poster of Guru Dutt’s Pyaasa

The new poster of Guru Dutt’s Pyaasa

Ultra Media & Entertainment Pvt Ltd, which took on the job of restoring the film, first acquired the rights of Pyaasa and then searched for the original camera negatives of the film, which were located at an archive in a damaged condition. The team used as much parts as possible from the original camera negative and mixed them with bits from the film’s 35mm prints. After digitally transferring Pyaasa,they started on the cumbersome task of cleaning up the print.

Image of the restored Pyaasa print (Photo courtesy: Ultra Media & Entertainment Pvt Ltd)

Image of the restored Pyaasa print (Photo courtesy: Ultra Media & Entertainment Pvt Ltd)

According to Ultra’s CEO, Sushil Kumar Agarwal, thousands of instances of dirt, lines, scratches, splices, warps, jitters and green patches were manually removed frame by frame under careful supervision by experienced artists.

Image of the restored Pyaasa print (Photo courtesy: Ultra Media & Entertainment Pvt Ltd)

Image of the restored Pyaasa print (Photo courtesy: Ultra Media & Entertainment Pvt Ltd)

Pyaasa’s original monaural soundtrack was remastered at 24-bit from the 35mm optical soundtrack. Clicks, thumps, hiss and hum were manually removed frame by frame at the sound studio of Ultra Media & Entertainment .The film will now be presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.33:1 at the Venice Film Festival.

Image of the restored Pyaasa print (Photo courtesy: Ultra Media & Entertainment Pvt Ltd)

Image of the restored Pyaasa print (Photo courtesy: Ultra Media & Entertainment Pvt Ltd)

Pyaasa is scheduled to be screened on September 11th and 12th at the festival and Ultra plans to theatrically release the restored version of Pyaasa after its screening at Venice.