India, Feb. 9 -- A group of Class 6 students gather around their guide at the National Museum of Indian Cinema, Mumbai. Before them is a display of seven posters under the title 'Devdas'. A small board provides the year in which each of the films was released, and adds there have been multiple retellings in different languages - Bengali, Hindi, Urdu, Assamese, Tamil and Malayalam.

"The first Devdas was made in 1935," the guide says. The group moves on. And so it goes across much of the building. India's first film museum does little to convey to the visitor the drama and ingenuity that drive the world's largest generator of movies by number. It's been 16 years in the making, but a corner on Satyajit Ray's camera technique holds not a sin...