Welcome to the world of Indian Hippy. Launched in December 2009 and the brainchild of computer engineer Himesh Jethwani, 29, this venture is all about Bollywood, poster artists and of course, India.
“We named it Indian Hippy because we wanted people to know that all products available are locally made. The Hippy part is an effort to connect with the youth and have a colourful appeal,” says Jethwani, head and founder, India Hippy.
Jethwani employs artists who paint Bollywood posters on wallets, purses, chairs and clutches and other items. “These people were earlier poster artists. But as demand for their service declined, they started working as watchmen and security guards,” he says.
Preserving a heritage.It was then that Jethwani decided to start this venture and employ these artisans. He says, “My intention was simple, to ensure that the knowledge they hold isn’t lost.”
The artists are employed on a freelance basis to respect their creative sensibilities. Jethwani says, “We do not want to bind them. Some of these artists travel abroad often and have global exposure. Through us, they only help preserve a culture so intrinsic to Indian and Bollywood history.”
There were several challenges though. First, the artists were used to painting on large canvases. Also, they used free hand. While they adjusted easily to items like chairs; painting on small, leather items like clutches and wallets proved difficult.
Also, at times, the final outcome was totally different from what was envisioned. “We went back and forth a number of times until we were successful,” he says.
They also managed to zero in on a particular kind of leather available in Dharavi that could hold paint and was easier to draw on. It was only once the process was perfected that theproducts were launched.
The response was phenomenal. While the products moved slowly initially, interest in the venture grew exponentially. Some products like a customised portrait of Shah Rukh Khan from Om Shanti Om and a Madhubala clutch from Mughal-e-Azam turned out to be extremely popular.
Recently, Jethwani has introduced services like hand painting canvas-sized Bollywood images on garage shutters. These images can also be painted on shutters of boutiques and housing societies and cost Rs 9,000 onwards. Glow paints could also be used to provide a zing.
Indian Hippy also offers hand-painted wedding cards (Rs 750 onwards) and shaadi mandaps (Rs 35,000 onwards). They could feature pictures of Bollywood and Hollywood stars or be customized to feature the bride and bridegroom in a filmy avatar.Jethwani says, “We really hope that our work helps preserve this art which is an intrinsic part of Indian heritage and culture.”
How it works
From their online catalogue, choose a product like a chair, wallet, belt, clutch or a purse
Choose a poster you want to have on the product
This could be a Bollywood, Hollywood or a customised poster
Call the company and tell them your product choice
Either send the poster or a link to an online poster
Pay and collect the product
You can get
Products like chairs, wallets, belts, purses, wall units, clutches and portraits. The designs could be Bollywood, Hollywood or customised to suit your needs.
Services like hand painting garage shutters, creating wedding cards and even designing a wedding mandap.