Stamps on display at the khadi fair at Morabadi grounds in Ranchi on Wednesday. Picture by Hardeep Singh
Shammi Kapoor and Guru Dutt stand next to Sachin Tendulkar, while Yash Chopra and Smita Patil look on.
Well, these are nothing but commemorative postage stamps on 100 years of Indian Cinema and the Little Master that the Jharkhand postal department is selling at the khadi and saras mahotsav at Morabadi grounds in Ranchi.
Naturally, philatelists, old and young, are lining up at the kiosk. The distinguished Bollywood gentry, whose pictures are on the stamps, comprises only those who have passed away.
Shammi Kapoor, Shankar Jaikishen, Smita Patil, Guru Dutt, Balraj Sahni, Ashok Kumar, R.D. Burman, Madan Mohan, Yash Chopra, Prithviraj Kapoor and Durga Khote are a few of them.
A set of eight commemorative postage stamps on 100 years of Indian cinema has been priced at Rs 40, while another set of nine is available for Rs 45.
City-based philatelist Alok Kumar Agarwal, who bought the postage stamps depicting the cinema stalwarts, said: “I have a keen interest in collecting stamps. The fair gave me ample choice. I bought stamps on Indian cinema that had my favourite actors’ pictures on them,” he said.
Another philatelist, Ashish Kumar Choudhary, said these were rare collections that he would cherish for years to come.
“It is the best way to pay respect to the actors, who carved a niche for themselves in Indian cinema and entertained us for all these years,” he added.
Stamps with Tendulkar’s picture are available in a set of two for Rs 40. These feature the 200th Test of the Little Master. Students are coming to the fair only to collect these stamps.
However, going by the sale figures, film stars of yesteryear have defeated Tendulkar.
According to kiosk manager and Ranchi GPO Marketing Executive Sandeep Kumar, “We have already sold 40,000 postage stamps. Most people bought postage stamps on 100 years of Indian cinema. Stamps with Tendulakar’s 200th Test match pictures also had many takers.”
To meet the surging demand, the postal department is bringing new sets of stamps everyday. The other stamps available at the stall are a commemorative collection on wild flowers of India like Kashmir mallow, cobra lily, blue poppy. Each costs Rs 5.
A commemorative postage stamp on Jamalpur railway workshop is available for Rs 20, while that on Children’s Day is priced at Rs 5 each.
The crowd at the fair, however, is not entirely local. People from the districts, like Ramgarh and Hazaribagh, are also visiting the mela. The footfall is maximum on weekends.
Taking this opportunity, the postal department is encouraging visitors to register for Postal Life Insurance. Around 20 to 30 people throng the stall to avail of this service daily.