Bollywood poster art gets a funky new twist

Updated on Sep 09, 2012 12:23 AM IST

Artists are experimenting with movie posters by adding techniques, imagery & concepts to convey the storyline of a new film, or reinvent an old one.

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HT Image
Hindustan Times | BySrishti Jha

For Delhi based graphic designer Akshar Pathak who began designing conceptual Bollywood posters earlier this year, his passion has brought him more business than he imagined. The NIFT graduate creates posters of Bollywood films based on just one basic idea or a prominent scene from the film. Pathak and some other contemporary artists are bringing in a new trend in film posters where the concept of the film is bigger than the stars. The artists are intelligently using imagery and other techniques to depict the storyline rather than just splashing the star cast on posters. Being true to the content is the call now says designer Samta Kejriwal whose studio did the poster for recent hit Agneepath. She says, “As mindsets are evolving, we aim to catching the eye with the context rather than with flashy showoffs we go for conceptual posters.”

Pathak’s conceptual poster art has many takers with even director Mira Nair asking him to design for her upcoming movie ‘The Reluctant Fundamentalist.’ Rajeev Chudasama, creative director, Marching Ants, the design studio behind posters of movies like Kahaani, Dev.D and Paan Singh Tomar says, “ New age filmmakers are experimenting with posters and sometimes use minimal expression to convey a point effectively.” The change reflects a new cerebral thought that goes behind conceptualising poster art. Saif Ali Khan’s Agent Vinod’s that was released earlier this year had a sleek publicity poster with just letters ‘A’ and ‘V’ and a gun-bearing Saif Ali Khan. The poster, a far cry from usually crowded Bollywood posters seemed set to convey the idea that a sleek and subtle depiction can have a more profound effect than a cluttered one. It also signalled the change in Bollywood poster art.

Bangalore based computer engineer Abhinav Bhatt who has started his venture, Minimal Movie Posters India, based on the same thought, uploaded his poster version of Paan Singh Tomar on Facebook. The poster showed just the index finger which Pan Singh used to show in the movie to indicate his upscale momentum. Filmmaker Anurag Kashyap not only noticed but also appreciated the work. Kashyap, says, “It’s a trend with lots of thought behind it and should become mainstream.” The fact that a lot of intelligent thinking goes into the poster is reflected in Pathak’s fun take of Jism 2’s poster which just had ‘NO-17- No one 17 and under admitted’ written next to Sunny Leone’s name.

The conceptual art in movie posters is also being revived by bringing back the magic of old-world hand painted posters albeit with a digital touch. While the team of Rowdy Rathore hired street painters to paint the movie’s poster with the accent on heavy colours and design, artist Sharmishtha Dutta recently hosted her poster exhibition in Delhi to showcase the poster trend in Hindi cinema from the 60’s to 80’s. Datta says, “I wanted to look into the vanished art of hand-painted film posters but I used the digital medium, to make it more pertinent to the younger generation.”

While the world of poster art is getting experimental people are also re-visiting the poster art of the past and adding their own twist to it. Vijay Kumar who was a one time poster painter now has a studio in Delhi. He says, “We used to enjoy painting prominent faces in bright colours. I now get customers from across the world asking for old film posters. Its like going back to our roots.”

Artists feel that the audience is now as interested in the poster as in the movie.Says designer Karthik Ramachandran, the man behind the Luck By Chance film poster, "We are breaking the clutter. The poster is the main communication between the audience and the film.We are trying to tickle the right emotion with new ideas."

Where to buy conceptual posters:

* Akshar Pathak's minimal posters -
* Abinav Bhatt’s minimal posters -
* Indian Popular art,- 5 Hauz Khas Village, Tel: 9811960996
* All Arts - 1, Hauz Khas Village, Lower Ground Tel: 26851024
* Bollywood Posters - 6/6 Darya Ganj, near Ghata Masjid,for handmade posters, Tel: 9999629382

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