As Amitabh Bachchan’s 81st birthday approaches, there has been a remarkable response to the Bachchanalia auction conducted by deRivaz & Ives, with 80 percent of the lots offered achieving significant success. This not only reflects the immense fan following of Amitabh Bachchan but also sets world records for Indian film memorabilia. Several items in the auction, including the Election Publicity Card, the Sholay Talc-box, and a single offset Showcard of Deewaar, created three world records for Indian film memorabilia.
The most notable achievement was the Election Publicity Card signed by Amitabh Bachchan in Hindi, which was used in the December 1984 Lok Sabha political campaign for the Allahabad constituency against political stalwart Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna. It received 30 bids and sold for INR 67,200, surpassing its lower estimate by over five times. This success bodes well for the growth of the political propaganda memorabilia market in India, especially with general elections scheduled in 2024 in India, the U.S.A., and the U.K.
The auction also saw surprising prices achieved for small black and white photographs featuring Amitabh Bachchan in rare moments, such as one with Muhammad Ali at his Beverly Hills Residence and a rare public photograph of Amitabh with his brother Ajitabh and their father Harivansh Rai Bachchan. These photographs received many bids and sold above their estimates.
Showcards, both hand-collaged and offset, also achieved significant success, especially for films like Zanjeer, Zameer, Deewar, and Ram Balram, with all surpassing the INR 50,000 price range.
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As expected, all the Sholay-themed items performed well in the auction, from a set of 15 Photographic Stills mounted on re-release Lobby Cards to unique items like tin boxes and an original talc-box featuring Sholay’s iconic ‘dosti’ scene with the motorbike-sidecar.
The success of the Bachchanalia auction, following the positive response to the Satyajit Ray sale last month, bodes well for deRivaz & Ives’ upcoming Feminine Icons of Indian Cinema and Raj Kapoor @100 Auctions scheduled for November and December 2023. This success reflects the growing international interest in Indian film memorabilia, which is expected to continue to thrive in the coming months. While the prices for memorabilia may be lower than those for modern fine arts, these items resonate with millions of Indians and complement the art world in their own unique way, supporting and enhancing each other.
In summary, the Bachchanalia auction’s success not only celebrates Amitabh Bachchan’s legacy but also underscores the rising interest in Indian film memorabilia, setting new records in the process.