Nothing as expensive as what I bought myself for my birthday, but yes, I’ve just acquired something I really like. Last Sunday, I visited Indipex, the International Philatelic Exhibition, currently being held at Delhi’s Pragati Maidan. Not because I’m especially interested in stamps, but because besides the auctions and the exhibitions and the sales of stamps, India Post also had an important new release scheduled.
[Note: You can click each of the images in this post to see a large image].
India Post—long notorious for thinking that politicians (and occasionally scientists) are about the only ‘great personalities’ worthy of having postage stamps of their own—have always given Indian cinema rather stepmotherly treatment. Considering the fact that cinema is probably the most popular form of entertainment in the country, and considering ours is the largest film industry in the world, personalities from cinema have been pretty much neglected.
Not totally neglected, I hasten to add. I knew a Nargis stamp had been released a while back, and that the gorgeous Madhubala was immortalised (as if she needed a stamp for that!) on a 5 rupee stamp in 2008. And while wandering through Indipex, I found a set of stamps featuring Kishore Kumar, Mohammad Rafi, S D Burman and Hemant, Hindi cinema’s musical stalwarts. Plus, there’s a Satyajit Ray stamp.
Now, a long overdue tribute to some more cinema greats. On February 13, 2011, six commemorative stamps featuring famous Indian actresses—Meena Kumari, Nutan, Leela Naidu, Devika Rani, Savithri Devi and Kanan Devi—were released at Indipex (Yay! for the fact that they didn’t restrict themselves to actresses only from Hindi cinema). I’d read that Asha Parekh and Vyjyantimala were among the special guests who’d been invited, but haven’t been able to discover whether they came for the do or not. Hopefully in a couple of years’ time, these ladies will be getting their own stamps!
Along with the stamps, India Post also released a booklet, which contains brief biographies of the six ladies, including their major films, awards, etc. The Madhubala stamp was re-released at the same time, so I managed to buy one of those.
I also managed to buy a first day cover—all six stamps, duly stamped—and a sheet each of the Meena Kumari and Nutan stamps. Couldn’t get sheets of the others, but I’ll keep trying. Each stamp has a close-up of the lady, beside a still from one of her films. The only film still I could positively identify was Meena Kumari’s: it’s from Pakeezah. Nutan’s may be from Sujata (or Seema?), and Leela Naidu’s may be from Anuradha, but I can’t be sure in either case.
Who cares? I love these anyway!
By the way, on a related note: I received a comment from a reader just today. A petition is online to get the United States Postal Service to release a Tyrone Power postage stamp. If you’re for it (like I am), go sign!