I was struck by Mala Sinha’s beauty in Gumrah (1963). She turned me into an artist,” says artist Prithvi Soni, talking about his first film poster. Fifty years on, Soni is still painting, but he no longer makes Bollywood posters.
The artist has painted celebs like Dilip Kumar, Shammi Kapoor, Dev Anand, Raj Kapoor, Rajesh Khanna, Amitbah Bachchan and Shah Rukh Khan, but says Raj Kapoor, Dilip Kumar and Dev Anand were “some of the easiest faces to paint.”
Soni adds that Mogambo in Mr India (1987), Sanjay Dutt’s character in Khalnayak (1993), and Amitabh Bachchan superhero act in Toofan (1989) were inspired by his paintings.
“When I was a kid, my first Bollwood drawing was for the film Howrah Bridge. Since then I have painted almost all Bollywood stars. It was challenging, but not difficult. And I’m still learning everyday and getting inspired with all that is around us.”
“I once painted a 60-foot cutout of Mala Sinha for the film Aankhen (1968). It was for a Delhi cinema house. I needed about 40 or 50 people to just hang that poster. The painting was so massive that I had to use wood to apply paint.”
Prithvi Soni’s exhibition is on till March 27, from 11 am to 3 pm and 5 pm to 8 pm.
At: Shabana Chawla’s Aks Art Gallery, Andheri.