Bollywood Art Project is back with a new mural. Look for Dilip Kumar and Saira Banu’s portrait on Hill Road the next time you’re in the suburb
The next time you find yourself on Hill Road, Bandra (W), watch out for the walls of Rizvi Chambers. The 40 ft wall is getting a facelift, thanks to Bollywood Art Project (BAP). Artist Ranjit Dahiya (37), who has championed the cause of painting larger-than-life Bollywood posters across walls of Bandra, is applying the finishing touches to his latest mural – a portrait of Dilip Kumar and Saira Banu. He is accompanied by four more artists and a cameraman to document the progress.
It’s the 18th mural by the art project, and something Dahiya has been planning for four years now. “I was looking for an appropriate site to paint the oldest couple of Bollywood. Sometime back, I was working as a graphic designer for a website. My colleague Asif Farooki knew Dilip Saab’s family. I had happened to share my wish with him. I had selected this wall of Rizvi Chambers, so I told him about it. Then we met officials from Rizvi Builders, and got the permission to go ahead,” says Dahiya, adding that even finalising the still from Gopi (1970) for the mural took a while, as he had too many ideas cluttering his mind.
Dahiya consciously steers clear of painting any newer actors, though. He started his brainchild, BAP, in 2012, to pay tribute to Bollywood icons, and has a long list of personalities still to paint – Mohd Rafi, Kishore Kumar, Helen, Rekha, Raj Kapoor and Shammi Kapoor. But he complains about the space constraint: “I don’t want to paint the stars on a window or a door. It is because habits die hard, and people will soon start spitting on the art,” he says.
A coffee table book is in the pipeline, but it has been so for ages. Dahiya admits that BAP remains his self-sponsored dream. The Dilip-Saira mural is costing him over a lakh. But he says that he can now afford to do this. “I take up commissioned projects for my bread and butter. But I don’t end up saving enough to publish these as a coffee table book yet. People have often asked me about my plans to put my works on display at galleries, but I will not do that because my idea is to bring art in the open,” says the artist.