Poster boys (and girls) of a different era

Feb 10, 2013, 10:21 IST | Moeena Halim

Get transported to an age when film posters were works of art. Dozens of vintage movie posters are on display at the Russian Centre today, as part of Enlighten Film Society's 100 Years of Indian Cinema celebrations

Hand-drawn posters to publicise new releases may be regaining popularity in Bollywood, but nothing beats the industry’s vintage film posters. “Even Hollywood has a long way to go before it can catch up with the Hindi film industry,” says Pranav Ashar, Enlighten Film Society, which also organises movie screenings every month at the Russian Centre.

So how did they come up with this flashback moment idea? When Zee Classic approached the film society to honour Indian cinema, Ashar says he knew the festivities wouldn’t be complete without an exhibition showcasing some of the industry’s most fascinating works of art.

The movie posters of  Do Bigha Zamin, Mughal-e-Azam, Kisan Kanya, King of Ayodhya and Baazi will be on display at the Russian Centre today

The posters, most of which are the only remaining originals,belong to a set of city-based personal collectors. On exhibit are posters of obscure films such as King of Ayodhya and Kisan Kanya, as well as iconic films such as Mother India and Mughal-e-Azam – all of which belong to the pre-1975 era. “Some of the obscure movies we found, have the most brilliant artwork on their posters,” says Ashar.

The idea, he says, is to get audiences to realise that posters can be considered art, too. “It’s not just about developing a hobby of collecting posters. These are works of art and can well be hung on walls,” he says.

Ashar hopes that the film society’s weekend celebrations honouring 100 years of Indian cinema will encourage the preservation and dissemination of old films, which he believes is “not really a priority in India.”

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