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Retro brush for Bollywood

The world today seems to be in rewind mode with models strutting down ramps in everything 1920s and ’60s, the Vespa scooter making a comeback and movies such as The Great Gatsby creating much hype. Bollywood, too, is taking artistic inspiration from yesteryear.


 Ishaqzaade

Imtiaz Ali’s 2011 hit Rockstar, had digitally enhanced hand sketches of Ranbir Kapoor and Nargis Fakhri on its posters that made it stand out among other heavily photoshopped faces on posters. Arjun Kapoor’s first movie Ishaqzaade got a thumbs up from critics and the art-work, though not hand-made, was stylised on old Bollywood posters.

Incidentally, the inspiration was old YRF (Yash Raj Films) posters from that era and their designer achieved the same effect, digitally. A handmade standee was done on canvas but only for internal office use. Assembly and transportation costs and logistics prohibited the team from doing this across all multiplexes.


Posters of 2011 hit film Rockstar

“We felt the treatment of Ishaqzaade’s poster was the best way to depict the world of the film, to give a warm rustic feel and a ’70s look. Most decisions stem from the script and the director’s vision. Even the costumes used for the poster hark back to a small town, an old-world rustic look and are iconic in the film,” explains Rafiq Gangjee, Vice President, Marketing and Communications at the film house.

Next up, the city was dotted with posters of Akshay Kumar’s forthcoming release. The poster reeked vintage and display a hue of being hand-painted, entirely. “Since the film marks Akshay Kumar’s comeback as an action hero, we thought we would exploit the ’80s angry young man avatar for him. We incorporated almost every vintage element in these posters to do justice,” reveals Shikha Kapur, one of the film’s
co-producers.

National Creative Director of ad agency Leo Burnett,  KV Sridhar explains this phenomenon, “While working on a film’s publicity, designers are under pressure to create a path breaking theme; with the advent of technology they can create glossy pictures, and manipulate images through graphics. It actually started in the ’80s after Steven Spielberg released ET (Extra Terrestrial). Also, designers now have access to poster designs of movies all over the world thanks to the Internet. But it is the director and the story line that play an important part in the layout of the poster.” He goes on to elaborate that with movies like Dabangg, it’s the comeback of mass cinema, where the trend is going back to the age-old formula of the ’70s movies based on the angry, macho hero who hit back at the world in vengeance.

“The poster acts like a book cover where a retro art style is adopted, with bold colours; it allows you to portray the exaggerated hero. The South Indian film industry never gave up this story line and many Bollywood movies are southern remakes, hence the return of the emotion in the art.” 

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