At the Festival de Cannes this year, Malayalam classic Aravindan Govindan’s Thamp (The Circus Tent) made in 1978 was screened in the Classic Section. The screening at the prestigious event was possible as the movie was stunningly restored by a Chennai-based company, Prasad Corp, that is fast becoming the go to place for Hollywood and Indian studios to touch up, preserve and digitise old classics. 

In this video, Sai Prasad, Director of Prasad Corp, talks about the bright future of the film restoration business and why OTT players are interested in reviving old films.

Thamp was the 600th classic restored by the company, which painstakingly removes grains, dirt, burn marks, fades and flickering and makes old films as good as new.

Golden opportunity

Started by the legendary producer and cinematographer LV Prasad in 1954, Prasad Corp, the digital arm of Prasad Group, entered into film restoration business about 17 years ago. Today, it has the largest restoration facility in the world and partners with leading media brands including Zee, BBC, Sony Pictures, Disney and Warner Bros. It has restored over 600 Hollywood and Indian classic films till date, including vintage titles such as Lawrence of Arabia (1962), How the West Was Won (1962), The Ten Commandments (1956),  Ben-Hur (1959) and Gandhi (1982) to name a few.

It recently restored West Side Story (1961) and My Fair Lady (1964) in 8K resolution. Prasad Corp currently has one of the largest restoration teams globally with over 400 restoration artists.

Sai Prasad, director of Prasad Corp, is optimistic about the bright future of the film restoration business as OTT players and broadcasters are looking to expand their content library by restoring old films. For instance, Warner Bros alone has another 40 years of films waiting to be digitised.

Prasad Corp serves all major Hollywood studios including Universal Pictures, Paramount Pictures, Walt Disney Pictures, Warner Bros., Columbia Pictures and 20 th Century Fox. Currently, 50-60 per cent of its business comes from Hollywood while the remaining comes from cultural preservation projects of governments across the globe.

Indian projects

While India was lagging behind in restoration, things are picking up. In May, Union Minister of Information & Broadcasting Anurag Singh Thakur announced the world’s largest film restoration project under National Film Heritage Mission (NFHM) with a budget of ₹363 crore to restore around 2,200 films.

Prasad Corp is now restoring selected films of ace filmmaker Mani Ratnam in 8K resolution. “Many other prestigious filmmakers are now realising that they need to restore their films so there is a lot of traction in India now,” he said.