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Posters black, white and flashy tell Bollywood story


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From the black and white posters of the 1940s to the slick digital-photography pictures of today, they narrate Bollywood's journey from obscurity to global prominence.

The fascinating display of 50 Bollywood posters has been put up by Bobby Kohli at the Vision Centre for Art Gallery in the Indian capital.

They offer a rare visual treat for cinema fans, taking them through the rapid changes that Indian cinema has gone through in the last six decades or so.

"The success of a particular movie depended a lot on the posters in the early days as they were the only means of promotion," Kohli, a Bollywood poster collector, told IANS.

The event that started Monday will run till April 21. The posters are all of the same smallish size, the ones that are still found stuck to lampposts on Indian roads.

"In the 1940s and 50s, posters were painted and their quality depended on the skill of the painter. It's a different today with digital photography and other means," he said.

He began collecting posters a few years ago when he went to Kolkata in search of some Satyajit Ray film prints but was given a poster instead.

Now his Bollywood treasures are formidable.

A single black and white poster of the movie "Jis Desh Me Ganga Bahti Hai" is a throwback to the technologically primitive 1940s and a commentary on the Hindi films of the period.

The exhibition also has posters of all-time favourites like "Barsat ki Rat", the old "Devdas" starring Dilip Kumar, "Anarkali" and "Mirza Ghalib".

A poster of the classic movie, "Mughal-e-Azam", announces the arrival of advanced technology in Bollywood, a colour poster bearing testimony to the changing times.

From the days of the singer-actress Geeta Dutt, the immortal Raj Kapoor to the modern day diva Tabu - they tell it all.

Kohli said a new trend in the modern posters was teasers and one-liners to rouse curiosity, besides the pictures of actors and actresses.

For instance, the poster of the latest comedy, "Munnabhai M.B.B.S.", had lines like: "No tension, apun hai!"

"Today, cinema posters serve a much wider purpose. They have found a new market in hotels and pubs, who want to do poster-based interiors," Kohli said, adding he had received queries from hotels and restaurants.

And Kohli is particularly excited about Delhi Metro showing interest in film posters. "Who knows, they might do their interiors with posters one of these days," he said.


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