India gets its largest cine, arts and culture archive

Feb 01, 2013, 01:19 IST | Dhara Vora

Auction house Osian's is set to launch the largest archive and library on Indian arts, culture, and cinema. Titled, it will offer free access to the public

While data available on the Internet has made the lives of several students and professionals easier with information about everything under the sun available within seconds, not much can be said about the credibility of content that is available online. But the launch of might prove to be a boon for those researching on Indian Modern and Contemporary Fine Arts and Hindi cinema. A project by auction house Osian’s includes an online search engine that aims to be an authentic educational content provider and is set to launch in its beta version in March this year.

What’s new?
Speaking about the idea behind a free search portal, Neville Tuli, Founder and Chairman, Osian’s Connoisseurs of Arts says, “India cannot tackle her developmental problems through education unless there is a radical change in the access to top quality knowledge across all spectrum of our public. In the excuse of how can the poor or the illiterate learn or appreciate from the great arts and culture, we have strangled access and pandered to the lowest common denominator.” Tuli maintains that changing this, at least, for the area of the arts, cinema, culture and linked humanities is something Osian’s aspires to do. “It is twenty years of systematic unerring focus on archiving, documentation and research. Once this is available, how we utilise the knowledge will become the focus, but at least, the politics of access will get destroyed overnight. Whether you are in Ghatkopar dancing to Dabanng or theorising Derrida in Oxford, you now have common access to the very best knowledge base on the subjects, in both image and text forms,” he reasons.

Tuli aims to take a step towards becoming content providers to the leading colleges and universities of the world with the launch of Osianama. As for the credibility of the content, Osian’s believe that the key point of the online space is to bring physical improvement to daily individual life and merging online knowledge bases with the existing platforms of exhibition, auctions, film festivals, museums and more (where they are already present), will change the real-life impact of the virtual world. “The unique advantage of building the auction house-cum-archive from day one, and visualising the objective clearly many years ago, will now seem wise,” he feels.

Neville Tuli

Picture perfect
Apart from daily updates, the portal will merge its vast pictoral archive with the text, “Image and text will be merged. There is a clear language, syntax and grammar in the image, which our public does not understand. Further, it is important to share the vast diversity of Indian civilisation at a click. When there is an opportunity to compare posters with miniatures with advertisements with photographs with maps and so on, the mind will expand, radically,” asserts Tuli Osian’s plans to launch a physical platform — in the form of a museum in Delhi, to be called Osianama, The Kila, and will complement the online search engine with the help of different exhibitions.

Posters like these, ranging from film promotional material to travel catalogues, will be available at

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