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Coveted Merchandise From Cult Films Go Under The Hammer At Online Auction Today

June 25, 2014 | By

StoryLTD’s first ever online Film Memorabilia Auction, featuring a covetable range of merchandise from cult films, is all set to open today at 8 pm.

Poster of Geet Gaya Pattharon Ne

Poster of V Shantaram’s musical Geet Gaya Pattharon Ne (1963), starring Rajashri and Jeetendra

For ardent collectors of original vintage posters, for music buffs who thrive on Bollywood songs of the 1960s-80s, for film aficionados who love to revisit the finesse of the regional films of the golden era, collecting and appreciating movie memorabilia is a lovingly nurtured passion.

Absolute Film Memorabilia Auction, StoryLTD’s first ever online auction dedicated to Bollywood and regional film memorabilia, is all set to open today, featuring 73 lots that include LP records, synopses, posters, and lobby cards from smash hit films from the 1950s to the late 2000s.

This visual feast goes under the e-hammer on June 25 – 26, 2014, with bidding beginning at IST 8pm on June 25 on The format will be that of an “absolute auction” – there is no minimum price requirement to be met for lots to be sold; every bid is potentially a winning bid. Bidding for each lot will start at INR 1500 (USD 25).

The covetable range of merchandise from cult films features yesteryear and contemporary celebrities. Amitabh Bachchan makes multiple appearances; posters feature the veteran in swashbuckling poses in Don, Laawaris, Namak Halaal, Silsila, The Great Gambler, Shakti, Muqaddar ka Sikandar, and Majboor, among others. Shammi Kapoor oozes charisma in An Evening in Paris, Chinatown and Brahmachari, to name a few films. Actresses Helen, Sharmila Tagore, Vyjayanthimala, Hema Malini, Jaya Bhaduri and Rekha work their charms in Technicolor and Eastmancolor splendour.

Nish Bhutani, Chief Operating Officer at Saffronart, told Learning and Creativity in an email interview, “It (the auction) includes the 1950s and extends up to the late 2000s; there are posters of Daag (1952), Mother India (1957), Veer Zara (2004) and Rang de Basanti (2006), among others, on auction.”

The scope of the collections is not restricted to decades and includes rare original posters of films that are remembered and appreciated to this day. “We never made any deliberate decisions to restrict collections to particular decades,” says Bhutani. “Obtaining originals is an extremely difficult and painstaking process, as they are not easily obtained and if they are, they are not always in a good condition. The ones we are offering on auction have been selected after considering if they are in a condition to be sold.”

Raj Kapoor in Dil Hi To Hai

Raj Kapoor in Dil Hi To Hai

StoryLTD was launched by Saffronart, one of India’s leading online auction houses, in June 2013, and has held two highly successful absolute auctions online so far. Bidders from around the world will be able to participate in this 24-hour auction.

StoryLTD’s previous auction, Absolute Art and Collectibles, which was held in May this year, included some Bollywood memorabilia, but the upcoming Film Memorabilia Auction is StoryLTD’s first auction dedicated entirely to Indian cinema. “Additionally, all lots are offered at zero reserve prices, which should encourage collectors and cinema aficionados to participate in the auction. The earlier auctions also followed this trend. Absolute Art and Collectibles featured a mix of coveted artworks and rare collectibles ranging from furniture, to books and jewellery, among other valuable items. The one before that, Absolute Art on StoryLTD, was held in April and was dedicated to Modern and Contemporary Indian art,” Nish Bhutani said.

The Bollywood Film Industry has become one of the world’s largest film industries. Producing around 1000 films a year (twice the annual output of Hollywood), the stars of its silver screen are known the world over.  Bollywood veterans from films of the ‘70s and ‘80s find an equal footing among the current and older generations and are held in high reverence, while younger stars enjoy popularity among current movie-goers.

Indian film industry per se, with regional film industries put together, is much bigger and a phenomenal number of films are spun out of the flourishing film producing centres of India, with films in Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Bengali, Marathi, Kannada and other languages commanding large and loyal audiences. Regional cinema varies from mass films to the more aesthetically and intellectually refined. Rare memorabilia from regional Indian cinema is also in much demand and figure significantly in this auction.

Satyajit Ray’s films are lauded for their poignancy and power. The artistic and unusual posters and graphics from Satyajit Ray’s films, which Ray used to design himself have always been a connoisseur’s delight. A collection of posters from Ray’s films including Kapurush-O-Mahapurush (1965), Nayak (1966), Joi Baba Felunath (1979), Agantuk (1991), to name a few, sourced by the consignors from a film distributor from Kolkata, feature in this auction.

Amitabh Bachchan, Pran Sikhand and Zeenat Aman in the 1978 blockbuster film Don

Amitabh Bachchan, Pran Sikhand and Zeenat Aman in the 1978 blockbuster film Don

If you check out memorabilia on the social media or the Internet, you will find scores of social media groups and websites sharing rare pictures, posters and other film memorabilia for free. Despite this, the market for film memorabilia is growing steadily. Reason?The difference is in owning an original and owning a copy; the former holds potential for appreciation in value and re-sale,” says Nish Bhutani. “Auction houses selling originals and the people purchasing these originals recognise that they are an asset. Copies hold little value. Auctions are very different in the way they function. If we are speaking of websites that share these images virtually, they take on the role of virtual libraries where one can browse and “save” images, thus reproducing them, but cannot own an original.”

The earlier interesting film promotion practices such as releasing synopses booklets and lobby cards or the trend of using broad visible strokes and 3D style typography in hand-painted posters have faded away with the advent of superior technology.

Says Nish Bhutani, “Art needs to keep up with the present, just like anything else.  Art wouldn’t hold significance if it didn’t progress and utilise the means available in the present age. I wouldn’t call the current practices a loss of an art form; that’s precisely why we’re featuring originals from the 2000s as well. That being said, a lack of awareness of the practices of previous decades would indeed be worrisome.”

Raj Kapoor and Vyjayanthimala in Sangam (1964)

Raj Kapoor and Vyjayanthimala in Sangam (1964)

Preservation of this pristine art has become a challenge and necessity and auction houses and memorabilia archivists are leveraging technology to restore film publicity material of yesteryears that have now become part of our cultural heritage. Block prints of photographic collages were popular in the era of the silent cinema and in the thirties, followed by hand-painted art in posters which rose to prominence in the forties. Artists D R Bhosle and Pandit Ram Kumar Sharma are known for creating some of the most creative posters of the fifties while the sixties and seventies produced some of the most memorable and impactful posters designed by C Mohan and Diwakar Karkare.

Explains Nish Bhutani,Hand-coloured lobby cards and posters, lithographic and offset printing reflect a meticulousness and integrity to detail and a deep understanding of colour palettes and capturing emotions, and the time spent in achieving that effect and getting it right. A historical understanding always aids in appreciating where we’ve arrived at. Auction houses are responsible in promoting awareness by building a market for such items.”

The auction includes collections of lithographic posters, synopses and LP records of the films of Guru Dutt (Chaudhvin Ka Chand and Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam), Amitabh Bachchan (Sholay, Shaan, Naseeb, Trishul and several of his superhit films), Raj Kapoor (Shri 420, Jis Des Mein Ganga Behti Hai, Awaara, Barsaat), Shammi Kapoor, Dilip Kumar (Aan, Bairaag, Gunga Jumna, Mazdoor, Mashaal, Jugnu, Tarana), Rekha (Utsav), Dev Anand (Maya, Asli Naqli), V Shantaram (Navrang, Do Aakhen Barah Haat, Geet Gaaya Pattharon Ne), Ashok Kumar, Rishi Kapoor, Rajesh Khanna (Daag, Sachcha Jhootha, Aradhana), Kishore Kumar, Dharmendra and Hema Malini, Jaya Bhaduri (Piya Ka Ghar, Uphar), Meena Kumari and other film legends and luminaries, to name a few.

The rare and now much coveted long playing records that will be put up at the auction include a set of 8 LP records comprising Junglee (1961), Purab aur Paschim (1970), Anand (1971), Jewel Thief (1967), Baarish (1957), Dil Diya Dard Liya (1966), Hamraaz (1967), Meena Kumari Hits.

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Editor in Chief, Learning and Creativity; Consulting Editor, Silhouette Magazine. A former business journalist, Antara writes extensively on the changing trends of music, direction and filmmaking in cinema. Her articles aim to provide well-researched information on the legends of cinema for the movie and music enthusiast. She is also the Founder-Editor of Blue Pencil, a New Delhi-based publishing house. She edited and published Incomparable Sachin Dev Burman, the biography of SD Burman written by HQ Chowdhury. She has co-authored a chapter on Hemant Kumar's Bengali music in the acclaimed book The Unforgettable Music of Hemant Kumar, written by Manek Premchand. Her articles have also been published in and Antara is Editor-Creative Director of Wisitech InfoSolutions Pvt. Ltd.
All Posts of Antara Nanda Mondal

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