Ujwal N. Nirgudkar

Ujwal N. Nirgudkar is a Technical Advisor for India’s National Film Heritage Mission. He ia a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (Oscar Academy).

We are very happy to know that our beloved Honourable Prime Minister Shri Narendrabhai Modi-ji is celebrating his 70th birthday on 17th Sept.2020. 

I have always received an inspiration from his life & virtues. 

I am a Chemical Engineer & working in Film Technology Sector for the last 39Years.When I started my career in 1981 at Filmcenter Laboratory in India, there were many technological challenges in the Film Industry. But our Indian people are always finding the best & cheapest alternative technological solutions for every small & big problems. 

During my tenure in Filmcenter, I came across monthly journals of a reputed International Organisation “Society of Motion Picture & Television Engineers ‘(SMPTE). This organization started in the year 1916, was responsible for setting standards for Film, Television, Audio & Digital technology. 

This organization used to have annual conference in Hollywood every October. Many new technologies were presented every year by technologist around the world. I thought that India being the biggest producer of Feature Films, why can’t we contribute for the global technology, With that inspiration, I sent my first technical paper to SMPTE Conference, which was selected for Oct 1993 Conference. I was the first resident Indian to present that paper. This has given me lot of exposure to the new technologies being used worldwide. Subsequently I have presented two more papers in 1999 & 2002.I have received a US Patent for my paper presented in 2002.I was the first Indian to receive the US Patent in Film Technology. 

For many years, India imported colour film from USA, Japan, Germany. Our Film Camera’s were imported from Germany, thus Indian Film Industry (the largest film producer in the world) created jobs in Other counties. 

Narendrabhai Modi-ji, has created many reforms in India, but the one which I like the most is his announcement to become “Aatmanirbhar”(Self Sufficient). I think India needs to develop our own Technologies for Film Industry too. A 107 Year old Industry started by Dadasaheb Phalke in 1913, cannot depend on other countries for it. 

During the Covid-19 Pandemic, we were mainly dependent on the Digital Technologies for our entertainment as theaters were closed. Films were also shown on OTT Platforms. But many of you may not know that Modi Government started a massive 600 Crore project of Digitisation & Restoration of Old Indian Films called “National Film Heritage Mission” in 2016, guided by his able Minister for Information & Broadcasting Shri Prakash-ji Javdekar. That is why I consider Modi-ji a true visionary. This is one of the biggest digitization project in the entire world. I am really fortunate to be associated with this project as” Chief Technical Advisor.” Once completed, this project will make available all our old Indian films on Digital Platform. It is truly a big contribution from Modi Government to the Indian Film Industry. 

One more inspiration I received from Modi-ji, is his content endeavor to visit many counties around the world to develop relationships. It is really a tiring job, to visit different continents, different time zones & with extreme climatic conditions. In year 2017, I was selected as Oscar Academy Member, (First Indian to be selected as Member from Technical category in the history of 90 years of The Oscar Academy). The first thought that came into my mind was to increase relationship between The Oscar Academy & Indian Film Industry. I had planned & executed, visit of Oscar Academy President Mr.John Bailey to India in May 2019. 

This was the first visit of Academy President to India in the history of 90 Years. This visit was very successful & it was possible, mainly because of the support from Shri Devendra-ji Phadnvis (CM, Maharashtra), Shri Yogi Adityanath-ji (CM, Uttar Pradesh) & Shri Amit-ji Khare (Chief Secretary, I & B Ministry). 

Mr.John Bailey was very happy to interact with Film Industry representatives in Mumbai, I & B Ministry officials in Delhi. He & his wife Carol, also enjoyed their visit to Tajmahal. 

I hope this has opened many doors for our Film Industry in Hollywood. Mr. John Bailey also mentioned that The Academy will invite, more people from Indian Film Industry as Oscar Academy Members in near future.  

It is said that “Oceans & Films connect the World”. We are really fortunate to have Narendrabhai Modi-ji, A true visionary, as our Prime Minister, who has always worked on connecting India with the world. I am sure his vision will also help our Film Industry grow in leaps & bounds in years to come. 

I sincerely pray for his long & healthy life. 




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