Bhagwan Garga, pioneering documentary film maker and film historian, is no longer with us. B D Garga passed away this morning, July 18, at 6 am, in Patiala, where he was visiting his family. Ailing in recent years, he remained with his family for two months. His wife, Donnabelle Garga, remained behind in Goa waiting for his return.
B D Garga’s last rites will be performed today in Patiala.
Bhagwan Das Garga is one of India’s most eminent film scholars. Born in 1924, he began working in films under film-maker V Shantaram. He made his first documentary, Storm over Kashmir, in 1948–49 and has since then written, directed and produced well over fifty documentary films. In 1996, Garga received the first V Shantaram Award for Lifetime Achievement in the field of documentary films at the Mumbai International Film Festival.
In the fifties, Garga worked with various film units in Europe and at the Mosfilm Studios, Moscow. He later served as a member of the film advisory board and was honoured by the Film Federation of India for his contribution to the growth of cinema in the country.
Film historian Garga's book on the history of documentary films in India, 'From Raj to Swaraj: The Non-fiction Film in India', won the National Award for the Best Book on Cinema published in 2007. He is also the author of 'The Art of Cinema: An Insider's Journey through Fifty Years of Film History (published by Penguin-India)' and 'Indian Cinema: A Passage to Bollywood', another Penguin publication.
Garga’s treasure-house of material on the history of Indian cinema now belongs to the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts in New Delhi, where a separate section is being instituted in his name for researchers and scholars on film.
India’s film world, which owes so much to Garga’s vision and dedication to cinema as an art form, will miss his guiding light, his learning and his wisdom.
Sympathies and condolences: Mrs Donnabelle Garga - firstname.lastname@example.org