Handpainted Movie Posters- The Life of Indian Cinema dead?

Handpainted Movie Posters- The Life of Indian Cinema dead?

November 2, 2012 0 By Pramathesh Borkotoky

When I was young, we hardly got a chance to watch movies in cinema halls. We had to wait till Sunday for watching a movie on Doordarshan. However, we had one luxury, an indulgence that no one could stop us from. The movie posters! Larger than life hand painted posters that would give us a fair idea about the latest movie. If it was romantic movie, there would be a certain amount of tenderness in the brush strokes. If it was an action movie, you could feel the action. It gave an unforgettable visual treat to the onlookers, taking the definition of film poster art beyond advertising, and transforming it into a cultural icon instead. These hand painted pictures usually possessed vibrant and loud colours along with the artists’ personal touch; the posters though an integral part in the success of a movie, their makers largely remained unknown. (the exception being You know who)



Who can forget the poster of Sholay or the almost synonymous symbol of Indian cinema Mother India’s poster? The soft stroke of Mughal-E-Azam or the mellow poster of Pyaasa – each poster spoke the intensity of the drama.


Putting their heart and soul into the paintings, master artists created lifelike impressions of some of the biggest icons and films which left an indelible impression on the minds of the onlookers. Since, Hindi film industry has been taken over by technology, the hand painted posters have been replaced by digital posters. It may be feasible as it is cheaper and can be mass produced, but we lost an art form that brought Indian cinema to this point.


On a positive note however, there are some who greatly value this art. Poster collectors buy posters at good prices. Few artists have displayed their work in exhibitions.  Industry experts say that it will be a million dollar industry in a couple of years.


Apparel Design and Accessories industry is also embracing this art in form of cool T-shirts, sling bags, etc.


Having said that, we will never forget the joy of watching a movie poster for minutes if not hours in awe and discussing what the movie will be like. So what if we had to wait for Doordarshan to affirm or negate our views but those moments spent in the sun squinting at the splash of colours and the superheroes- well, they were priceless.

We welcome your comments at letters@friedeye.com