Movie memorabilia is an interesting method whereby fans can preserve precious moments from films for a long time, says VIBHA SINGH.
Movies have been for ages the greatest source of entertainment and deeply influence people even in their daily life. Bollywood industry has from past many years exerted a deep influence on popular Indian fashion. Any outfit or hairstyle adorned by an actor or actress in a hit movie immediately becomes a prime sartorial trend for the youth. But it is not only the style but even the objects associated with films which include costumes, advertising posters, and scripts, industry magazines and related material, scripts, storyboards, and original concept art. Promotional materials of any kind have been collector’s delight. In the early days, most people sought autographs or original photographs or posters. The posters are sold from as low as to Rs 300 to Rs 4 lakh.
Hinesh Jethwani , founder, Indian Hippy says, “Owing largely to its one-of-a-kind art style and limited availability, hand painted Bollywood movie posters of the past are extremely desirable today. Also they have become a legitimate article of investment. Buyers are aware of the resale potential they hold and see their purchase as a profitable longer term investment.”
Experts from the industry inform that there is no end to collecting Bollywood memorabilia. Today’s celebrity driven culture ensures a huge demand for memorabilia, prompting values to surge for the key players in film. People who are passionate about them collect it from cinema halls, production houses and also private collectors. Dominic Corda, art collector was offered a set of 25 vintage film posters. As he was not a serious collector of film memorabilia, but he being Amitabh Bachchan fan, picked up the lot as most were of films starring the superstar. Today, that collection has expanded to over 7,000 film posters and other film collectibles. Not only film stars but posters for genre movies, independent films, and B-movies are also especially desirable. In some cases, these posters are more collectible than ones with star-studded casts because the artwork takes centre stage.
Another big fan of movie set posters Bhawna Singh, educationist who has been collecting poster for past ten years says, “I love watching movies and used to really get fascinated with film sets. They used to be so colourful and bright. Gradually, I started collecting the old pictures and posters from friends and from Chor Bazaar and now even I buy them online. As I really feel great that I have invested in an item of history that gives me so much pleasure on a daily basis.
An old hand painted Bollywood poster can offer an amazing visual treat for the onlooker – no matter where it is displayed. Jethwani explains, “It is our endeavour to allow not just collectors, but art lovers, Bollywood cinema aficionados, vintage memorabilia lovers and regular folks who love curios to have the privilege to own a piece of this wonderful heritage at a fair price. Sadly, most of our priceless cinema heritage has been lost forever. There is a pressing need to restore and preserve some of the last few remaining pieces of Indian cinematic history.”
But for the young buyers it is the posters of science-fiction films, followed closely by those from horror flicks which attract them the most. These include the Sci-fi posters from the1950s and horror posters of 1930s especially Frankenstein, and Dracula. Aslam Khan, senior citizen and collector of posters talking about his passion for them says, “From my school days, I used to really like these bright and glossy posters which used to be pasted in streets of my home town Aligarh. During those days these people used to come at night to paste them on the walls. I used to request them to give me the one which has got torn. Gradually, I collected many of them.”
It is becoming almost next to impossible to source rare originals from the past in today’s times. Jethwani talking about the historical significance of these posters says, “A poster is a snapshot of Indian cinematic history. There are several landmark films that represent a turning point, the dawn of a new era in Bollywood. For example, Jhansi Ki Rani and Aan 1952 together mark the onset of technicolor. Raj Kapoor’s, Around the World (1967) marks the arrival of 70 mm film into the Indian film industry. The design of posters itself has undergone a significant transformation. Starting from hand painted to collages (a mix of photographic and hand painted) to completely photographic. A poster is nothing short of a time capsule – one can travel through the history of cinema through these fascinating posters.”
Talking about earning some good sums in this market through the posters Jethwani says, “In the long term yes. A significant chunk of the revenues we earn through sales are reinvested in buying more stock – mainly from private collectors and auction houses. For someone armed with the right amount of passion and knowledge, this is definitely a lucrative business in the long term.”