Film historian, author and archivist of vintage film memorabilia, S.M.M. Ausaja is Senior Vice President at DeRivaz & Ives, India’s premier auction house. He began his career with a stint in TV software production, joining Plus Channel in Mumbai under Amit Khanna and Mahesh Bhatt as a trainee on India’s first English daily, A Mouthful of Sky, in 1996. He went on to produce several TV shows in the years to come; working with companies like Integral Productions, HFCL Nine-Broadcasting and Gemini Studios where he also directed documentaries on Lata Mangeshkar, Amitabh Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan and Hema Malini which were telecast on prime-time television.
He has written extensively on Indian cinema in various journals and portals. His cinema memorabilia archive is arguably the single largest private archive in the country. For almost four decades, he has tirelessly collected rare first-print posters of films released over the last 100 years, helping preserve an art form that has almost been forgotten in the digital era. Besides the posters, the archive includes a formidable collection of photographs, lobby cards, hand bills, glass slides, postcards and film magazines.
His debut book, Bollywood In Posters, released in 2009, was nominated at the prestigious Vodafone-Crossword Book Awards under the Best Non-Fiction and Best Popular Book categories. Ausaja’s second book Bollywood: The Films! The Songs! The Stars! co-authored with eminent writers was released by Amitabh Bachchan in December 2017.
Ausaja has also been a consultant on the prestigious Oral History Project on Amitabh Bachchan, commissioned by The Academy of Motion Picture, Arts & Sciences in collaboration with the Film Heritage Foundation. He lives in Mumbai with his wife and two daughters.