A tryst with typewriters and film cameras

A tryst with typewriters and film cameras

Antique charm

Something which started as a way to publish his poetry ended up becoming his passion to collect old and antique typewriters and film cameras. A 22-year-old engineering graduate from Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, Ronak Singh Bhasin is a Delhi-based entrepreneur who has a collection of around 40 typewriters and 8 film cameras.

He says that there is always a “mad path” for artistes. With immense fondness for satirical comedy in Kavi Aahat in Balhans’ comic strip, Bhasin started an Instagram page pagalkavi where he shared his poetry and got an audience for it. Eventually, he started posting pictures of his typewriters and pictures clicked by his film cameras and ‘pagalkavi’ became popular for not just his poetry but also for his rare and fascinating collection of typewriters and film cameras.  

“My father had got a blue and white colour typewriter many years ago. I typed a lot on it and used to enjoy the experience of typing long sentences without backspace. I eventually developed a love for old things and have been collecting very old typewriters and cameras since then,” says Bhasin.

One might wonder from where he sources his collection of such old machines and cameras.

“It is just like you have a collection of stamps or currency from different countries. You have to be on a continuous hunt for having this kind of collection. I’ve searched every nook and corner of Delhi to get these typewriters, got them repaired from Universal Typewriter Company, a very old shop in Kamla Nagar,” Bhasin tells Metrolife.

The prices of these typewriters depend on the condition that they are in. “The older, the dearer” says Bhasin. Starting from Rs 5,000, the cost of these typewriters go upto Rs 30,000. 

Alongside goes Bhasin’s love for film or analogue cameras, which one can probably find only in ‘camera market’ of Chandni Chowk. He recalls his first Yashica compact film camera that he bought when his father couldn’t afford a DSLR.

“I got it for Rs 200, clicked pictures, got them developed and plunged into film shooting since then. I’ve done a lot of photography on these films cameras and have found many photographers who want to shoot with these cameras,” he says.

Denying statements like “digital has killed film” and “film is dead”, Bhasin says that film shooting has continued to live.

“With hashtag #filmisnotdead on Instagram, all film shooters are trying to bring back film shooting in the scene,” says Bhasin adding that there is a community of photographers today, many of them in Delhi, who use alternative photography techniques and shoot with old formats like in 30-second’ exposure.

Taking his endeavour forward and catering to niche audience who look forward to old and antique products like these, Bhasin has started with his online venture True Vintage Machines, where he sells these typewriters and cameras. 

 “With only Facebook and Instagram pages, I soon plan to launch a website. I use all the money I make in buying more typewriters and cameras,” he says.

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