Here’s what the film magazine Cine Blitz has to say on the project in its July 2012 issue:
What an idea, sirji! Soumyadip Choudhury, a blogger based in Ghaziabad, has kicked off a project to upload old Hindi films, which are no longer under copyright, for free, legal viewing. As part of the Indian Public Domain Movie Project, Choudhury will put up films that are now out of copyright in the public domain, on his blog. According to Indian Copyright Act, 1957, films come into the public domain on the first of January, 60 years after their release. Which makes Indian films released before January 1, 1952 part of the public domain! The 1944 film KISMET is currently available for viewing, a film that Bhaichand Patel called “unequalled” in its success, “before or after in Indian cinema until SHOLAY came thirty-two years later. It ran for over two years in Bombay and Calcutta. Ashok Kumar played a debonair cigarette smoking anti-hero, a pickpocket who had run away from a wealthy home when he was a child. Reformed by a dancer who had been disabled and was on hard times, he reunites with his parents at the end. The songs, written by Pradeep and set to music by Anil Biswas, were part of the film’s magic.” Another treat for HiFI fans is RAJA HARISHCHANDRA, directed by the father of Indian cinema, Dhundiraj Govind Phalke. This, India’s first feature film was first screened on April 21, 1913. The complete film (3700 feet) no longer being available, up for viewing are the first and last reels. Savour the experience!
Meanwhile I am very much on the project and have managed to acquire copies of quite a few Indian films that are now out of copyright and they’ll find their way to the collection as soon as I finish my research and do the necessary cleanups.