Some people fall in love with certain things so hard that they spend the rest of their lives making it a better experience for others. Or somehow improving its quality in order to preserve it for future generations. Thomas Daniel, a retired fisherman and tour bus driver does the same. And he does it with unbeatable diligence.
It seems simple enough, right? To find old films and videos and upload on your YouTube channel? Well, not quite. Not only does he go to extreme lengths to curate old films that are difficult to find even on video tapes or DVDs, the film enthusiast edits each video that he gets his hands on at least thrice before the upload!
The former fisherman uses software such as AviSynth and Audacity to edit out the lines, logos or the grainy damage that may be on the videos he obtains. And that definitely takes some time!
Reading about the kind of work he puts into this almost makes you feel like he’s a natural at what he does. And of course this is a talent, but according to an interview, long before he dived into the editing part of this work, he began researching it extensively.
He began reading film reviews by Phillip Lutgendorf a professor of Modern Indian Studies, to understand more about the topic. But, it’s interesting to know that Thomas didn’t actually enjoy himself much when he visited India during a trip with a friend in his younger days. And then, slowly over time, almost like magic, he started watching Hindi and Urdu films to connect to the culture.
His YouTube channel currently has 89.6K subscribers and 171 restored films on it. And now that he has built a whole community through the platform, he’s able to access rarer films and videos with the help of his followers and fellow film enthusiasts from all over the world.
The ex-tour bus driver has been able to get a hold of films such as Lal-e-Yaman (1933), which was recorded from an airing on Doordarshan with the help of a follower. In fact the films he has collected are from years that are extremely difficult to procure from (1930s to 1960s), yet he’s still done it!
The fact that Thomas went to the great extent of reading from credible sources to learn about Hindi and Urdu films and teaching himself editing skills to give others a great experience deserves so much recognition and love. And I guess what’s even more endearing is that he’s doing all of this to protect and preserve a part of a culture that he wasn’t even born into!
We need more people like this on our planet!