London Hosts Vintage Bollywood Auction to Mark Indian Cinema Centenary

3:41 AM PST 11/28/2013 by Nyay Bhushan
Conferro Auctions
A poster for the 1978 Bollywood film "Des Pardes," directed by and starring Dev Anand, which was set in the U.K.

“With Bollywood such an ingrained part of our cultural identity and the timely centenary of Indian cinema, our first auction reflects India’s rich and vibrant history and artistic practices,” says Conferro Auctions director Sharan Seth.

A first of its kind auction of rare Bollywood memorabilia will take place in London on Friday. Celebrating Indian cinema's centenary, the auction is organized by London-based Conferro Auctions.

The auction, to be held at the Westbury Hotel in Mayfair, will feature collectibles, such as LPs, film banners and Bollywood posters from some of the milestones of Indian film history. The collectibles include items from such iconic films as period epic Mughal-e-Azam (The Emperor of the Mughals, 1960) and action-adventure Sholay (Embers, 1975), among a host of other landmark titles featuring some of Indian cinema's biggest stars.

“With Bollywood such an ingrained part of our cultural identity and the timely centenary of Indian cinema, our first auction reflects India’s rich and vibrant history and artistic practices,” said Conferro Auctions director Sharan Seth.

Said London Mayor Boris Johnson: “The strong cinematic links between London  and India are illustrative of a historic and warm relationship that  continues to flourish.” He added: “I was thrilled to visit Mumbai last year to meet some of Bollywood’s leading movers and shakers, and I am pleased to help celebrate 100 years of this iconic cultural art form. ”

The sales proceeds of two of the 150 items – as well as a percentage of all sales – will be donated to Pratham UK, a charity that aims to provide basic literacy to India's millions of illiterate children.

“Since the 1990s, Bollywood has gone global on a new level, embraced enthusiastically by the Indian diaspora and through them has gained a presence in the mainstream of U.S. and U.K. culture,” said University of London, Royal Holloway senior lecturer Anna Morcom who also penned an introduction essay for the auction catalog.

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