To this day, there is a gap in documenting and archiving the history of Kannada cinema in an accessible way, which a new online portal — chitrapatha.com — aims to fill. The portal, designed with fonts from yesteryear film posters, is drenched in nostalgia for old films, songs, their history, trivia, and rare-to-find photographs.
The portal, that remains free, is a passion project of film journalist Shashidhar Chitradurga, who said he had always felt the need for such a portal that documents Kannada film history. “As a journalist, I have faced many challenges in procuring information about our cinema’s history, especially while writing obituaries. Though there are some books, they are organised and are not accessible,” he said.
But what made him passionate about film archives is his friendship with two still photographers — Bhavani Lakshminarayana and Pragati Ashwathnarayana. The duo worked as photographers for both film projects and newspapers for decades. “They have a treasure trove of photographs of several actors, on the sets of films and other events. I brought out seven books on various aspects of Kannada cinema history using their photographs. The success of these books made me start the online portal,” Mr. Shashidhar Chitradurga said. The portal is built mainly on the photographic archives of the two photographers.
However, it also includes sections that are documenting other film trivia and memorabilia such as film posters, song lyric books and those on technicians who work behind the screens and have remained mostly unknown. The portal’s design, which has recreated fonts from film posters of the yore, has been a big draw. “I was keen on using those fonts. My friend Krishne Gowda N.L., who designed the website also created these fonts using old film posters as a stencil,” Mr. Shshidhar Chitradurga said. The portal also has write-ups on films of other Indian languages and world cinema.