Bollywood film posters evolution and their effect on the audience

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There were times when the posters that adorned the walls in the cities and the mofussil towns created a sense of buzz about the movie, the buzz being owing to the fact that they had a kitsch look, which facilitated a sense of identity. But during the last few years the kitsch look was given a go by and it was replaced by a rather glossy look or the posters were inspired from the posters of Hollywood films. The injection of gloss on the posters may have added to the quotient of visual appeal, but for the common man to be able to associate with this kind of poster was a tad difficult proposition.

Bollywood film posters evolution and their effect on the audience
JAYANTABHAI KI LUV STORY and NAUTANKI SAALA

No wonder the publicity department seems to have turned the clock full circle and have returned to the retro look of the seventies, though tempered with the technical finesse of the present times to give the posters a crowded look. If one were to view the posters of ROWDY RATHORE or SON OF SARDAAR from 2012 it would be apparent that the visual nuance is more calibrated towards the calendar art, or the manner in which the calendars are printed and adorned in the houses of the Aam Aadmi, as it provides an instant connect.

Continuing with the tradition that was revived in 2012, in 2013, the posters of SPECIAL 26, JAYANTABHAI KI LUV STORY, ZILA GHAZIABAD, BANDOOK, NAUTANKI SAALA etc., have returned to the era of Kitsch which was the dominant motif of the cinema of the seventies.

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The posters are now being used to illustrate or provide a glimpse about the nature of the content that the film would be having. It is a major paradigm shift as far as the evolution of the poster format in the world of Hindi cinema is concerned, as now instead of relying on the element of titillation through the projection of thighs and cleavage, the poster is slowly gravitating to underlining the content of the film in one way or the other.

The slow gravitation to the kitsch look is an outcome of the fact that the mainstream cinema has undergone metamorphosis in terms of its character portrayals, lead characters moving to smaller towns and villages, and therefore the kitsch has become the defining motif. The digitally produced posters were too clean and sanitized so the crowding out had to happen to make it a narrative window for the film.

It would be interesting to find, whether this wave would also return the era of hand painted posters as well?

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