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Auction house buys Cinemaya

June 23, 2004 11:55 IST

Osian's - Connoisseurs of Art (Pvt) Ltd, India's premier art archive and auction house, has bought over Cinemaya, the New Delhi-based film magazine dedicated to Asian cinema, for an undisclosed price.

The deal was struck last month and now the magazine, founded by film critic Aruna Vasudev 16 years ago, will be known as Osian's Cinemaya. The first edition of the magazine after the takeover will appear in September.

The deal also includes taking over of Cine Fan, the film festival that Cinemaya has been organising for the past five years. It will now be known as Osian's Cine Fan and is scheduled in Delhi between July 16 and 25.

Neville Tuli, chairman of Osian's and Vasudev will formally announce Cinemaya's acquisition at a press conference in Mumbai today.

For Tuli who owns a huge collection of archival material on Indian cinema such as original film posters, booklets, photographs, lithographs, scripts, costumes and props, the acquisition is one step closer to his vision: to create a wealth of art-related information by linking India's fine arts, cinema and architectural heritage.

"We want to build the world's finest infrastructure for Indian cinema where knowledge and aesthetics will be the underlining forces," he says. Similar acquisitions in the related field are not ruled out.

According to Vasudev, who's been on the advisory board of Osian's Indian Cinema and Popular Culture, the talks between Osian's and Cinemaya have been on for the past two years.

And that the terms of the final deal have been "good". "The magazine was getting to look middle-aged and needed a new direction. It has got stability now and we can continue with our work without having to worry about money," she says.

Of late, the magazine, which survives on a subscription base of about 1,000 copies, has been going through hard times. While Vasudev's role will not change in the magazine, she feels that she can now focus on what she has been meaning to; look at new digital technology in cinema and focus on short films.

Vasudev maintains that the content and flavour of the magazine will remain unchanged. Tuli, however, states that the product's new makeover will see the number of pages go up from the current 100-odd pages to 165.

It will also have a sharper focus on Indian cinema. "Indian cinema has been a blind spot for the magazine. It never gave the same space to Indian cinema as it did to Korean or Malaysian films," he says.

About 60 per cent of the content is currently focused on Asian cinema, while about 20 per cent is Indian. "We hope to change that ratio and devote 45 per cent of the space to Indian cinema," says Tuli.

Plans are also afoot to raise the subscription level to 10,000 by end of the second year. It is tying up with India Book House to market the magazine and has plans for a similar tie-ups in Asia and Europe.

Tuli, meanwhile, has ambitions to market films abroad. He also hopes to organise film festivals in India and has tied up with the Berlin International Film Festival to hold the Talent Campus India workshop in New Delhi (July 19-23), an exercise that will allow young filmmakers to interact with ace film experts such asĀ  the Australian cinematographer Christopher Doyle.

Simultaneously, Tuli wants to keep up with his promise of disseminating art to the public: "We plan to hold film poster exhibitions through the year," he says. During the last movie poster auction, Tuli resurrected names such as Dr Bhosle, creator of posters for Guide (1965) and other poster painters like Diwakar Karkare, Pamart Studios.

Osian's auction house is said to be the main profit earner and its Archive, Documentation and Research Centre functions as the data bank arm. The company's board of directors include people like Gautam Thapar and Sanjeev Khandelwal.

Maitreyee Handique in New Delhi