Mumbai-based artist on a quest to immortalise Bollywood with these time capsules
Meet Ranjit Dahiya, a self-confessed film buff who paints these murals under his art collective, Bollywood Art Project. His latest offering is a mural of late actor Rishi Kapoor, which he unveiled on his social media on September 4, the actor’s birthday.
A walk down the older quarters of Bandra, Mumbai will open a world of nostalgia for cinephiles. Painted in bright colours and very retro styles are murals of old Hindi films and the stars that inhabit the cineverse. From the sleepy lanes of Chapel Road and Waroda Road to the more popular Bandstand and Sea Link, the murals have left an indelible mark on the cityscape. So who is the artist creating these time capsules? Meet Ranjit Dahiya, a self-confessed film buff who moved to Mumbai in 2009 for work. He paints these murals under his art collective, Bollywood Art Project.
His latest offering is a mural of late actor Rishi Kapoor, which took him six days to complete. He unveiled it on his social media on September 4, the actor’s birthday. “It was my tribute to him and I wanted to celebrate it in my own style,” says the NID, Ahmedabad graduate.
A mural takes about 10-14 days to paint, and volunteers also pitch in to help. “We take permissions from the residents to use their walls and once we have painted them, it automatically becomes a landmark,” he says. He feels happy when people come and take selfies in front of the murals. “When I painted Amitabh Bachchan’s mural, he tweeted about it, saying something like Deewar pe kisi ne Deewar banaa di,” he says. The original 2017 tweet said: “They build a ‘DEEWAR’ on a deewar. In Bandra, Mumbai.”
His love for the movies began as a child who grew up on a steady diet of VCR tapes. “It is a Bollywood city and my mission is to immortalise it,” says the 42-year old artist who works as a freelance graphic designer and also paints on commissions. The money he makes from these assignments is spent on sourcing materials for these murals.
The pandemic has affected his work, as he is not getting as many freelance assignments, so funds are scarce. But this hasn’t deterred him from planning his next murals. “We do wear masks and maintain distance while painting, but I still go and paint. I want to paint so much more, from legends to forgotten celebrities,” he concludes.
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