Since childhood, I have always been fascinated by the artwork on billboards, posters created to convey various messages on general knowledge or public health etc, calendars, matchboxes and cinema hoardings. I believe it tells a lot about our collective Indian aesthetics and the way we perceive ourselves. Calendar art works managed to depict more in one picture than many words in a paragraph. Common subjects for these were Apsaras ( celestial nymph in Hindu mythology) or popular actresses made to look celestial, gods from Hindu mythology, mother and child, popular characters from history like Shivaji, the great Maratha chief and political leaders like Mahatma Gandhi. These days I miss those manually painted boards where all movie heroes had the rosiest cheeks ( now replaced by digitally corrected 6 pack Abs) and the women competed for the runners up trophy on wearing conical brassiere. So I was quite happy recently to find a cinema poster depicting Bollywood movie Rowdy Rathore, unfortunately it wasn’t too high on the two points I mentioned above. The colour palettes were vivid, larger than life sizes conveying various emotions and characters alluring the public to yet another new movie release. Equally interesting are the depiction of general and social knowledge topics used in posters for schools, primary health and public programmes. I came across a few posters that were commissioned by the tourism board of India and the state of Nagaland.
“Indianess” – fitted into a single sheet of paper !
Image courtesy – http://www.google.in