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Prem Vaidya
Documentary Filmmaker

Prem Vaidya The last living photograph of Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri in Tashkent, images from Pakistan Eastern Command’s surrender to Lt. Gen. Jagjit Singh Aurora and Bangla Desh forces in the Eastern theatre, and the first Everest conqueror, Sir Edmund Hillary’s Indo-New Zealand expedition on the Ganges will be put on display during an exhibition of photographs from the archival collection of eminent documentary filmmaker, late Prem Vaidya.

In his eventful career of 31 years with the Films Division, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India, Vaidya (February 26, 1927 - July 10, 2014) worked in various capacities as a cinematographer, director, scriptwriter and producer, witnessing a number of extraordinary moments in Indian history.

He was always accompanied by hisAsahi Pentax still camera while on filming assignments which included the 1965 Indo-Pak war, visit to Tashkent with Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, liberation of Bangladesh in 1971 and participation in Sir Edmund Hillary’s Indo-New Zealand jet boat expedition on the Ganges in the 1980s.

An accomplished name in the field of short films, Vaidya received a number of national and international awards for films such as Man in Search of Man on the Andaman & Nicobar aborigines, Veer Savarkar, a biographical documentary on freedom fighter Vinayak Damodar Savarkar,  Against the Current on Sir Edmund Hillary’s expedition Ocean to Sky and other films.

Prem Vaidya joined the Government of India’s Films Division as assistant cinematographer in 1954 and retired as producer in 1985. He wrote articles in English, Hindi, and Marathi in national and international magazines and newspapers. Of these, The Filming of Asian Games and Documentary on Veer Savarkar were published in the American Cinematographer. He has authored two books- Memorable Assignments on Moving Images published by the National Film Archive of India, and Savarkar A Lifelong Crusader published by New Age International Publishers.

In 2003 the Indian Documentary Producers Association honoured him with the Ezra Mir Award for Lifetime Achievement.

  • Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri's last living photograph, January 10, 1966, Photo by Prem Vaidya
  • A jet boat from Sir  Edmund Hillary's India - New Zealand expedition on the Ganges that hit a sandbar in the middle of the mighty river, Photo by Prem Vaidya
  • Lt. Gen. A.A.K. Niazi, Commander, Eastern Command, Pakistan, signing the Instrument of Surrender at Dacca on December 16, 1971. By his side is Lt. Gen. Jagjit Singh Aur, Photo by Prem Vaidya
  • JRD Tata flying back to Bombay from Pune in his four-seater plane, Photo by Prem Vaidya