According to the Mumbai Mirror, master prints of 60 films went up in smoke, including Ashok Kumar's debut film. Deccan Chronicle says posters, letters, photos, and other memorabilia were also destroyed.
It pains my heart to think of Dadamoni's work turning to ash. It's really sad, the lack of care and respect for these old films and the memorabilia.
If not the Criterion Collection, then I really wish some Indian group would take the responsibility of restoring these old films, so the entire world can see the treasures Bombay produced. A film like Mahal stands up to anything in the Criterion Collection but who knows this one now besides the oldies and a handful of us movie nerds who tried to get our hands on everything Ashok Kumar ever did
because we thought he was dreamy back in the day.
Anyways, I have a heavy heart today. I love this art so much and it's always painful to be reminded that most other people really couldn't care less. It's also hard to reconcile the HUGE show contemporary Bollywood makes of kowtowing to the past with the actual lack of respect for the films and actors themselves…
Sing us out, Dadamoni.