By its very nature a film is made to be seen and film-makers go to great lengths to publicize their works. A film's release is announced through printed publicity material in the form of film posters, photographic stills, handbills, song booklets, hoardings, show cards, glass slides and lobby cards among other memorabilia. These publicity materials are artworks in their own right and offer fascinating insights into the evolution of design in India and the world over.
Relative to cinemas anywhere in the world, India has without a doubt the most ardent of cinema watchers. This fervor is still to extend to the artifacts that collectively narrate the story of Indian Cinema, even today, as she now turns one hundred years old. Scholarly and comprehensive writing on Indian cinema which captures the public imagination is still blowing in the wind. Despite many efforts the required excitement and respect for our cinematic heritage is missing. The histories written thus far, utilizing a relatively poor historical research base, are genuine attempts but even collectively offer mere fragments. Much remains to be told, with countless narratives still to be written. It is therefore the film publicity materials and memorabilia that does, and will in times to come, provide the crucial historic reference and base.
Given the above, it becomes doubly essential to value and preserve these fragile paper based artworks as testimony of our century old cinematic culture. These artifacts are second only to the film itself and we are far behind Hollywood and the film lovers of the West in recognizing the intrinsic artistic, cultural, educational and overall archival value of these artworks.
A handful of avid cineastes in India do hold private collections of Cinematic Artworks, however this tends to take the shape of hoarding and in this way, due care, storage and restoration of the artwork is often neglected.
Through intense efforts over more than a decade, spearheaded by Neville Tuli's obsession to build a great knowledge-base, Osian's has been able to collect and salvage large parts of these significant secondary resources. No such archive exists to date in which memorabilia, books, films and related documents are systematically preserved to be shared on a daily basis, while integrating itself with the other fine and popular arts. The Osianama, India's first museum on art and film, will be the first major 24 x 7 public interface with these subjects in a systematic manner.