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Wednesday, 20 February, 2002, 17:40 GMT
Bidding for Bollywood art
By the BBC's Sanjeev Srivastava in Bombay

Hundreds of thousands of rare Bollywood posters, photographs and other memorabilia will go under the hammer next month, in the first ever such auction in the history of Indian cinema.

It is being organised by an auction house based in the western city of Bombay - OSIAN - and will be preceded by previews in London, Dubai and Delhi.

The auction is another first for Bollywood and an indication of the growing influence of the nearly one hundred year old film industry, the largest in the world in terms of the number of films made every year.

The event clearly draws inspiration from Hollywood, where film memorabilia is regarded not only as an art form and a collectors┐ delight but also has immense commercial value for film lovers.

Despite the huge popularity of Indian films both in India and in the South Asian diaspora the world over, Bollywood memorabilia was until now collected only by a few.

Poster art

According to OSIAN chairman Neville Tuly, who is the curator of this event, the auction will be the first time Indian memorabilia will be on offer for the international film enthusiast.

Mr Tuly told journalists that the auction would also be the first attempt to give financial value to an unique art form which till recently was discarded like waste paper.

Nearly 250,000 posters, lithographs, black and white as well colour still photographs, song booklets and collage-showcards are to be auctioned.

The posters, dating from the silent movies era of the 1930s to the action films of the 1970s, depict in many ways the history of Bollywood, known the world over for its song and dance escapist extravaganza.

The auction will include posters of some of the classic films of the 1930's and 1940's like Sikander, Pukar and Maha.

There is also a separate section on three of Bollywood's oldest stars, Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand and Raj Kapoor, who are often referred to as the golden trimurti (trinity).

Another section features sixties stars such as Shammi Kapoor and Jeetendra - both Bollywood heroes inspired by Elvis Presley - the first Indian superstar Rajesh Khanna and finally Amitabh Bachchan, regarded by many as the Bollywood's biggest ever star.

See also:

06 Feb 02 | Film
Bollywood goes to LA
27 Nov 01 | Film
Bollywood eyes Afghan market
13 Feb 02 | Business
Bollywood's hopes for Oscar dollars
01 Jul 99 | Entertainment
Bollywood star tops the poll
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