Posters of Wadia Movietone films
Posters of Wadia Movietone films

Prinseps announces auction of Wadia Movietone estate

ANI | Updated: Oct 26, 2021 17:03 IST


Mumbai (Maharashtra) [India], October 26 (ANI): Prinseps, the Mumbai based auction house, has announced the auction of the Wadia Movietone estate, which would include posters, lobby cards, and songbooks from the mid-1930s.
The Wadia Movietone auction will be held on November 16 at 10 am, which would bring together items from the estate of Riyad Wadia, heir to the Wadia Movietone production house and a renowned independent filmmaker himself.
Further highlights during the auction would include original movie posters from acclaimed films like 'Miss Frontier Mail', 'Stunt Queen', 'Circus Queen', 'Khilari' and 'Captain Kishore', among others. It would also include memorabilia such as a rare stained glass, circa 1750, from Loveji Castle, once the home of Loveji Wadia, the eminent 18th-century shipbuilder.
Established by brothers JBH Wadia and Homi Wadia in 1933, Wadia Movietone was a noted Indian film production company. JBH Wadia and Homi Wadia are great-grandsons to Lovji Nusserwanjee Wadia who founded the Wadia Group in 1736.
The production house gained widespread acclaim for its early stunt films and its casting of an Australian stunt woman, Mary Ann Evans (popularly known as Fearless Nadia) in their films.
Nadia initially starred in a series of smaller roles before landing her first lead role in 'Hunterwali', one of the first female-led movies in India. The movie went ahead and became one of the most successful films of its time and the first Indian film to have a sequence titled 'Hunterwali Ki Beti'.
The film led Nadia to be counted among the most highly paid actors of her time, spawning a genre of stunt actors who sought to emulate her but never quite succeeded in the same way.
More recently, the production company was inherited, Riyad Wadia, who returned to Bombay from Charles Sturt University in Australia to resurrect the banner with a groundbreaking documentary 'Fearless: The Hunterwali Story' (1993).

Since the time of its inception in 1933, through the heyday of talkies and well into the 1990s, the film company has had a significant impression on the Indian movie industry and has produced almost a hundred films, prior to the shutters finally coming down on the production of feature films by the company.
The auction by Prinseps would offer a glimpse into this remarkable history of Indian filmmaking with key lots including original posters and artwork for:
* 'Miss Frontier Mail', 1936 (Lot 1, estimate Rs 2,50,000-12,50,000) an action crime thriller film directed by Homi Wadia
* 'Court Dancer', 1941 (Lot 5, estimate Rs 10,000-50,000) directed by Madhu Bose under the Wadia Movietone banner. The film was simultaneously released in 3 languages -- English, Bengali and Hindi
* 'Tasveer', 1966 (Lot 84, estimate Rs 20,000-1,00,000) an action romance film helmed by JBH Wadia starring Feroze Khan, Rajendranath Malhotra and Nasir Hussain
* 'Saaz Aur Sanam', 1971 (Lot 95, estimate Rs 10,000-50,000) a Bollywood romance movie helmed by JBH Wadia starring Premekha and Rekha
Curator Brijeshwari Gohil spoke about the poster auction and noted, "We are delighted to be able to bring these lots to the fore and highlight a significant part of Indian filmmaking history. The original movie posters offer a glimpse into the gradual transformation of movie posters owing to enhanced visual technology in the 21st century."
Following this auction, Prinseps will host auctions, including an extraordinary NFT auction of artworks by the radical 1950s artist Gobardhan Ash, from his 'Avatars' series.
Later in the year, Prinseps would also be offering a rare auction of Bhanu Athaiya's sarees alongside a selection of NFTs based on her drawings and sketches. (ANI)

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