Mera Naam Joker’s Ukrainian release poster establishes world record auction price for Indian international release film poster

Mumbai & New Delhi, December 18: deRivaz & Ives Auction House today established new world record prices for Indian vintage Indian film memorabilia in its Raj Kapoor @100 online Auction, on the heels of their recent successful Satyajit Ray, Bachchanalia & Feminine Icons online auctions.

The auction clearly reinforced the enduring cinematic legacy of Raj Kapoor in the hearts and minds of Indians across the world. With frenetic bidding in many lots, with select key lots exceeding 30 to 40 bids, world pricing records were established for the first release half-sheet poster of the 1950 Raj & Nimmi starring film “Banwra,” directed by G. Rakesh (lot 7). This lot, featuring artwork by Junior Guild Photo Arts and printed by Universal Photo Litho Studio, far surpassed its initial estimates, fetching an impressive ₹582,400 ($7,015 / £5,825) against an estimated range of ₹60,000 – ₹90,000 ($725 – $1,085 / £600 – £900). Remarkably, the poster garnered intense competition with 48 bids placed by many bidders, indicating a high level of interest and enthusiasm among collectors for top aesthetic quality hand-painted early first release posters which are now growingly very rare, difficult to find in good condition and as always, very fragile, given most of India’s original paper-based cinematic arts are destroyed and lost forever.

The very rare Ukrainian release poster for Raj Kapoor’s iconic 1970 film, “Mera Naam Joker.”  Was the next superstar of the auction. This full-sheet poster, noted for its unique and unusual graphic design, is a testament to the global influence and popularity of Raj Kapoor, especially across the earlier USSR Soviet regions and much of Eastern Europe. 

The poster, showcasing the art direction of M.R. Achrekar and photography by Kamat Foto Flash under the RK Films banner, is a striking example of the artist’s style and a vibrant representation of the film’s essence. Its distinct visual appeal and the cultural significance of Raj Kapoor in these regions made this lot exceptionally desirable.

Originally estimated to attract bids between ₹40,000 – ₹60,000 ($480 – $725 / £400 – £600), the auction for this rare Ukrainian poster saw a flurry of enthusiastic bidding, culminating in a record-breaking winning bid of ₹156,800 ($1,890 / £1,570). 

Lot 8, featured a very rare, original portrait photograph of the legendary Raj Kapoor, personally autographed by the star himself on 21.9.1950. This autographed photograph holding immense sentimental and historical value, culminated in a winning bid of ₹31,360 ($380 / £315), surpassing its highest estimate. 

Films such as the superhit Bobby (1973) still garner immense nostalgia for the public and collector, fifty years later as seen in the prices achieved for two showcards, as stated by senior spokesperson SMM Ausaja: “Bobby, now over 50 years since its release, continues to hold a special place in the hearts of audiences, celebrated for its portrayal of innocent yet determined young lovers. The auction of these showcards saw significant interest, culminating in a winning bid of ₹106,400 ($1,280 / £1,065). The lasting appeal of “Bobby,” showcases the film’s continued relevance and the deep emotional connection across generations.”

“Looking ahead, deRivaz and Ives sees a bright future for the auction market in cinema memorabilia once the film fraternity engages more meaningfully with their heritage. It is still a very negligent involvement compared to the great cinematic cultures of Europe and Hollywood, despite the deep love we hold for our cinema. Hopefully it will change in the coming months and years. The success of the ‘Raj Kapoor @ 100’ auction is a clear indicator of the growing interest in this field.” stated Sia Gupta,   a specialist in the Fine Arts Market at deRivaz & Ives.

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