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Historic film of Delhi in India from the early 1960s

The film in this post features an historic look at the city of Delhi in India in what seems to be the early 1960s. Of course the city is now known as New Delhi, but at the time this film was made it would have been known as Delhi.

I purchased this film as part of a collection of vintage home movies on eBay and certainly didn’t expect it to have the subject matter if turned out to have. The other films in the collection were standard home movie subjects like holidays and trips to the seaside, so it was quite refreshing to find a film with a more cosmopolitan view of life in the 1960s.

The film was shot of standard 8 Kodachrome film and was taken on several reels, being a total of about 15 minutes long.

Stills from Delhi in the early 1960s

This section shows some still images taken from the film to give a flavour of the contents.

Film of Delhi in the 1960s

The film opens with some shots of a street in the city and light traffic flowing. It’s interesting to see the mix of 1960s cars, three wheeled vehicles and carts drawn by animals and the white uniformed policeman ready to direct the traffic if there is a problem.

There are several scenes of street sellers in this section with products as diverse as silk clothes, fruit and veg, flowers and a spices.

After a few minutes the photographer takes a higher stance and films looking down on the street to capture what appears to be a festival or ceremony taking place in a crowd of people. There is a golden carriage which is surrounded by people and there are many people on the roof tops watching the events in the street below. I wondered if this was a funeral procession? If so the person being buried was very popular or famous because the street is full of people for a long way behind the carriage.

After this section the film moves to show scenes from the Delhi Yacht club, which I identified because there was a label attached to the film reel with this title on. This section lasts quite a long time and shows Yachts and boats in a large lake or river.

The rest of the film shows many scenes from 1960s India including the famous Taj Mahal and I found it a fascinating look at a world so very different from ours.

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If you see anything in the film which you recognise or you think gives clues to the location or date, please let me know in the comments below. Also, please share this post with your friends if you think they may be able to help locate scene in this film.

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A software developer by profession and an amateur photographer by hobby I've been interested in all things photographic since I was a teenager some 40 years ago. Many of my interests centre around vintage film photography and cinematography.


  1. Roy Gardiner says:

    Super, with subject matter and setting so very different fro m our own Green and Pleasant land. I sensed the heat, humidity, noise and smells of the city.

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