Of Hand Made Posters, Traditional Bollywood Art And Technology

Posted on January 7, 2011

By Anwesha Bose:

Today every industry has grown and modernised with available technology. Taking its cue, the entertainment industry too has improvised itself and moved on. A country so passionate about their films, art and culture – Indians too have welcomed the new changes blowing in like the wind.

Awakening to global sensibilities, we have produced master-pieces with international appeal and mastered the ability of using technology in our arts.

However the use of technology has outshined the very fabric of home grown Indian methods. Till about the 1990s the sight of huge hand painted movie posters hanging outside movie theatres used to be a common sight. The posters encapsulated the various key emotions portrayed by the lead actors in the movie. The glitzy world of cinema was captured in the intricate hand work of the Bollywood poster painters. This form of advertisement pulled many to theatres. The sheer size of the hoardings along with the multitude of colours, used to define the nature of the movie, the viewer would see.

Like the 1975 wall poster of Deewar, an Amitabh Bachchan starer showing the angry young man in all its glamour. His posture, clothing and emotions so well illustrated by artists on canvas.

Drawing a parallel, movie poster painting was India’s version of West’s realistic art which caught every detail of the scene.

Now the scenario has changed, with vinyl posters taking over. Printing is the cheapest method available to the producers who refuse to patronize manual art work. The old posters which often featured warm-red colours and princess like actresses gazing into the air are now replaced by new posters which mimic today’s American movie posters.

Balkrishna art studio in Mumbai is one of the last surviving such studios which still do handmade posters for anyone with a demand. Though the demand is dwindling in India, country’s like UK, Australia are showing increasing interest in this form of art. People there are more appreciative of this traditional form. Such studios now only cater to foreign exhibitions and crazy film enthusiasts who demand them to reproduce bill boards of bygone year’s classics like “Mother India” and “Devdas”.

It is an art form that is fast disappearing as film producers and public have shown no interest. Lets not let another unique form of creativity fall victim to people’s ignorance and technology and be lost as painters with such skill are fast vanishing.

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