India's Osian's Group Launches Online Film and Art Archive

Pinhead prop from "Hellraiser" - Osianama archives India

The exhaustive collection spans 96 percent of all Hindi films ever produced, along with rare Hollywood memorabilia from the Leonard Scharder collection.

NEW DELHI – A first of its kind free online database of art and film memorabilia -- -- has been launched by Indian art organisation Osian's Group. The extensive Osianama database includes a treasure trove of rare Indian and international cinema memorabilia and artefacts, which are part of the archive's various categories including art, architecture, crafts, books, culture and photography.

After its beta launch in August, was launched at the Frankfurt Book Fair which was held from Oct. 9-13.

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Mumbai-based Osian's Group runs an art auction house and publishing imprint while organizing a variety of art and culture events and projects. Osian's Group also organizes the annual Cinefan film festival in New Delhi, which focuses on Asian and Arab cinema.

Over the last two decades, Osian's has been building its art and film archives which include rare memorabilia such as lobby cards, posters, publicity photos, props and other artefacts. The online archive is being updated in stages and by its second phase (January to July 2014), Osianama will include over 500,000 items covering all forms of film publicity material and other artefacts, both from Indian and international cinema, including Hollywood rarities.

These include everything from lithographic and offset posters, lobby cards, show-cards, song-synopsis booklets, photographic stills, handbills, hoardings, glass slides, scripts, costumes and the like, dating back to the start of the silent era.

“This knowledge is our gift to the world on the 100th annivesary of Indian cinema,” said Osianama founder Neville Tuli. “Thanks to technology and a bit of effort, this glorious knowledge-base will finally become a public right. ”
The Osianama archive claims to cover almost 96 percent of all Hindi films ever produced while expanding its regional cinema database as well. The Hollywood collection features rare lobby cards dating from 1910 to the 1940s, which Osian’s mostly purchased from the Leonard Schrader collection. Osianama's collection of iconic props include items such as a replica of Pinhead from the Hellraiser series. The expansive world cinema collection includes classic Polish and Japanese poster design and other artefacts from Asian and Arab cinema.

Osianama's film memorabilia includes items referencing iconic figures such as Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Marx Brothers, Laurel & Hardy, Sergei Eisenstein, Cecil B. de Mille, Orson Welles, Fritz Lang, Greta Garbo, Clark Gable, Marlon Brando, Marilyn Monroe, Alfred Hitchcock, Humphrey Bogart, Katherine Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor, James Dean, Cary Grant, Clint Eastwood, James Bond, Robert De Niro, Tarzan, Elvis Presley, The Beatles, Akira Kurosawa, Satyajit Ray, Fellini, Stanley Kubrick, Francis Ford Coppola and Steven Spielberg, among others.
The archive's art database includes financial details of every public sale and auction in the world of modern and contemporary Indian art since 1987.

“Thus, India becomes the first country to freely reveal comprehensive and authentic auction data which has been the preserve of a few elite groups or available in fragments for a monthly fee,” said Tuli. “Today it is pivotal that the public has free access to this vast integrated knowledge-data pool, because without this none of the economic and financial infrastructure players will grasp the nature of the art object as a cultural collectible and asset... Many of the problems and mindsets faced by the Indian art market over the last decade will vanish overnight.”

During last year's Cinefan festival, Osian's organized its first auction of Indian cinema memorabilia, notching sales of about $125,000.