The Greatest Indian Show on Earth – Osian’s Auction sets new records and benchmarks
Superstar Shah Rukh Khan, Morarka Foundation, Dungarpur Film Heritage Foundation & other Collectors from New Delhi, Nagpur, Kolkata bid passionately to value and preserve Indian Cinematic History
Record Prices established for Film Posters, Photographic Stills, Lobby Cards, Anotated Scripts, LP Record Covers & other film memorabilia
Mughal-e-Azam, Gunga Jumna, Junglee, Mother India, Prabhat Studios, Dilip Kumar, Madhubala, Dev Anand, Rajesh Khanna are the highlights of public interest
163 Lots sold (73% of Total Sale) for INR 55.60 lacs with 122.7% of Total Lower Estimate and Average Lot Price of INR 34,111
Osian’s “Greatest Indian Show on Earth” Series Auction of Rare & Vintage Indian Film Memorabilia held last night (12 Sept) in Mumbai elicited a brilliant response with sales of 163 Lots for INR 5,560,200 (US$ 92,670), equaling 73% of Total Lots offered and 122.7% of the Total Lower Estimate Value of the Auction (81.8% of the Total Higher Estimate Value), establishing new records across all types of publicity material and memorabilia with a positive response from the film fraternity led by Shah Rukh Khan, Foundations concerned with India’s cinematic heritage & memorabilia and the die-hard Indian film fan / collector, especially from New Delhi and Nagpur.
The mood was set as the first few lots of rare artworks and photographic stills belonging to some of the earliest films made by Prabhat Film Company and Prakash Studios captured the imagination of 3 major collectors, most significantly documentary film-maker Shivendra Singh Dungarpur, who recently produced the award winning Celluloid Man, a film on pioneering archivist P.K. Nair. Photographic Stills of films such as Amrit Manthan (1934), Amar Jyoti (1936), Aadmi (1939), Padosi (1941), Rajput Ramni (1936), Baiju Bawra (1952) all established new highs.
The auction’s most popular section focusing on the Trinity – Raj Kapoor, Dilip Kumar & Dev Anand and Leading Heroines – Madhubala, Nargis, Meena Kumari, generated the greatest interest and frenzied bidding. Superstar Shah Rukh Khan led the way by outbidding everyone for the two majestic Mughal-e-Azam (1960) original posters, establishing new records (Lots 67 & 68 : INR 360,000 & INR 324,000) for Indian film posters. His deep passion for cinema permeates all that he does, whether it is his acting or helping to create a greater awareness towards the need to preserve India’s cinematic heritage.
The wonderful Gunga Jumna artwork, hand signed and inscribed by Dilip Kumar in 1962, went for a record INR 216,000, purchased by the M. Morarka Foundation, led by Kamal Morarka who later stated: “Dilip Kumar is our National Treasure, he is unique, cannot be replicated again, like Ravi Varma, the urdu language, certain rare manuscripts in Benaras, they all need preservation & support in all manner.”
Other Lots which captured the imagination of the collectors were Lots featuring Madhubala, Shammi Kapoor and Rajesh Khanna, who have maintained their constant grip on the imagination of the Indian film fan with their charm and unique personality. The wonderful six-sheeter poster of Mother India, which requires preservation work by the new collector also witnessed hectic bidding, finally selling for INR 252,000.
The Rajesh Khanna Lots of Anand & Bawarchi witnessed the most competition while the poster of Junglee, one of the earliest designs by Studio Diwakar, established a high of INR 72,000, while the lovely six-sheeter of An Evening in Paris went at a relatively low INR 48,000. Most other lots received reasonable interest especially some of the Lots from the N.N. Sippy Family Collection, such as the hand annotated scripts of Ghar and Meri Jung (INR 48,000), establishing highs for that kind of memorabilia in India. The calendar art angle of Indian cinema also received its fair share of interest with Priya Paul of the Apeejay Group continuing to add to her wonderful popular culture collection with lots pertaining to advertising (e.g. Lot 147 & 210).
Neville Tuli – Chairman, Osian’s Group – who has pioneered the building of the interest and market for India’s arts and film memorabilia over the last 12 years added: “It is very good to see the film fraternity finally taking a much larger interest and responsibility in helping to preserve this fragile heritage. Further, organizations concerned with preservation are becoming more active and recognize that both visual and textual knowledge-bases need to be built to re-educate our people. The future looks brighter than ever before and with joint efforts by even a hand ful of like- minded individuals and institutions, much of the infrastructure-building burden which was upon the government can be taken on and shared by the private sector. This auction was one successful sign in that direction.”