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Technology killing B'wood poster art

Film posters have been recognised as a specialised art form in the United States.
By Press Trust of India | None, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 30, 2006 11:38 AM IST

There was a time when the art of painting film posters was a thriving business. In the absence of television, cinegoers used to visit theatres on the basis of the impression created by these posters.

Now with the growth of television channels, internet and other means of publicity, posters have lost their significance.

While film posters have been recognised as a specialised art form in the United States, India is yet to realise the value of these posters which stand as a witness to the changing trends of the Indian film industry.

Naveen Anand, who has been collecting such posters for the last one decade says,"poster making is definitely a specialised art, which needs encouragement"

"Especially, in hand made posters, the imagination of the painter is involved. The publicity material prepared today with the help of real photographs simply do not have that magic," he says.

There was a time when the art of painting film posters was a thriving business. In the absence of television, cinegoers used to visit theatres on the basis of the impression created by these posters. Now with the growth of television channels, internet and other means of publicity, posters have lost their significance.

"The expressions created by the artists at times could decide the fate of the new releases. Better the poster, more successful would be the film," he says.

Anand, who claims to be the only Bollywood poster collector in the country with a collection of more than a thousand posters feels that these posters also have social relevance.

"Apart from being a witness to the changing trends in the film industry, these posters also speak volumes about the changes in the society," he says. More

Anand, who recently held an exhibition of such posters in the capital considers them important from the point of view of conserving materials related to the early days of the Indian film industry.

"Very few prints are available of many Indian classics of the thirties and forties. But the posters of these films speak about those glorious days, " he says.

"The government and corporates should recognise the need of conserving not only the prints of the old films, but also souvenirs related to them," he adds.

The artists who were associated with the business of poster making in the Indian cities have also lost their jobs.

"Almost all the artists have shut shop and have been forced to diversify to other fields. Efforts are required to ensure financial support for these people who have made such tremendous contribution to Indian cinema, " he says.

While Bollywood posters are in need of attention and conservation, Hollywood posters are auctioned for huge amounts in prestigious venues such as the Christie's!

The fact that painting maestro MF Hussain was also a film poster artist in his early days, speaks a lot about the art itself.

In Anand's words, "let us take steps to conserve this art, or we might lose them for ever."

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