Dilip Kumar will now have murals dedicated to him on his birthday

Dec 10, 2017, 09:19 IST | Jane Borges

Four illustrators recount their experience of recreating the famed Mughal-e-Azam poster, the best of which will make it to a wall mural in Mahim to mark Dilip Kumar's birthday next week

What is your most vivid memory of the 1960 Indian epic Mughal-e-Azam? Is it of Dilip Kumar and Madhubala, who play Salim and Anarkali, in inseparable embrace, or the ageing Mughal monarch Akbar, portrayed by Prithvi Raj Kapoor, approaching with his army of soldiers on elephants and horses? In October this year, television channel Star Gold Select's team launched an initiative to look back at the story of the many posters that the historical threw up.

Mughal-e-Azam poster

As a tribute to veteran actor Kumar, who turns 95 on December 11, the team invited eight digital artists and illustrators from across the globe to give new life to the film's original publicity material. The idea was to get a variety of cultural influences, inspiration and styles to the same table. The results, as astounding, will be recreated on a wall near Mahim station next week by students of The JJ School of Arts. We connected with four of the final lot of artists to discuss their journey of recreation.

Krzysiek Glazewski

'I depended on my imagination of the epic'
NAME: Krzysiek Glazewski, illustrator and graphic designer
FROM: Gdansk, Poland
AT first, I was surprised that I was approached for this project. Nonetheless, I was thrilled because I found it to be a great opportunity to confront my skills with such a topic. Fortunately, I was given a free hand to create the composition. But, I haven't seen the movie, and it's hard to get a copy of it in Poland. I had to depend on my imagination of the epic. When creating the poster, it was important to accurately depict the emotions of the characters - all that love, hate, anger and bravery. For this, the colours had to be in contrast. The process started with some sketches of the composition. After that, I tried to build up the sketch with layers, lights and shadows. When the colours were finalised, I painted over the monochromatic illustration, digitally. Finally, to finish the image, I added some textures, and contrast to the lighting.

Posters Courtesy/Star Gold Select
Posters Courtesy/Star Gold Select

'The colour scheme was important to portray war, romance'
NAME: Nainesh Saple, illustrator, visualiser and art director
FROM: Mumbai
Mughal-e-Azam is among the first larger-than-life movies to emerge from the Indian film industry. Everything about it, right from the costume, music, set design, architecture to production and filming was done on an epic scale. So, when I was approached to make a poster, my first thought was, how do I celebrate this classic, and yet, represent everything that it stood for. The movie revolves around two lovers fighting against odds to be together. And, since the story was set against the backdrop of war, it was important that I reflect both themes.

Pic/Shadab Khan

If you see my final work, Salim and Anarkali appear in the foreground, while war, or the semblance of it, is seen in the background. The colour scheme was also important. I chose to paint the lovers in shades of blue, grey and green - these are soothing colours, and represent how absorbed they are in each other. The bright red, fiery orange and bold yellow in the background, highlights the imminent danger that awaits them. It took me three days to complete the poster. I watched the film to ensure I hadn't overlooked an important detail.

Mughal-e-Azam poster

'A poster should be like a print trailer'
NAME: Cristhian Hova, digital artist and illustrator
FROM: Lima, Peru
I thought it was a great opportunity and I didn't want to miss it. The brief was clear: I had to draw a poster similar to those in the '60s, but without deviating from my style. I use a lot of geometric shapes to create my caricatures. I've heard of Bollywood, and I think, it is one of the greatest cinematographic industries in the world. To begin with, I observed the photos of the actors; I then saw the movie, which by the way is great, and tried to understand the storyline better.

Cristhian Hova

For my illustration, I tried to revive the classical compositions of an old-school poster, while attempting to communicate what will happen in the movie - it's like a trailer in print. Since I like vintage colours, it was great opportunity for me to recreate the essence of classic artwork. The aim was to fit the characters and scenario in the same harmony.

Mughal-e-Azam poster

'I wanted to celebrate the era Of black and white'
NAME: Broti Bhattachariya, artist and illustrator
FROM: Mumbai
I knew the poster had to be in black and white. There were two reasons for this: first, I wanted to celebrate the era of black and white movies, the original print in which the film was screened, and second, I wanted to give the design a contemporary take. The style that I selected for my digital illustration is a throwback to old-school Bollywood posters. The characters, their expressions, the typography, all hark back to a forgotten era. But, even though I started off with a two-colour approach, as I kept experimenting with the drawing, I realised that a hint of bright colour would add some dynamism to the drawing.

Broti Bhattachariya

This is possibly the reason why I chose pink. Not only did it add depth to the characters, it also represented the groundbreaking move of remaking the film in colour. As far as homework goes, I watched the film before working on the project, in order to capture the grandeur. It took me two weeks to wrap it up.

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