Although the specific beginnings of hand-painted Bollywood film poster craftsmanship are somewhat obscure, it is broadly accepted that the art form was brought into the world during the 1920s. The charming specialty of hand-painted Bollywood posters has voyaged far from that point forward – from filling in as the essential promoting medium in the golden era of Indian cinema to the current day, where it fills in as a subject of much interest for art lovers and galleries, historians, vintage & antique collectors, museums and many others.
Similarly many novels back in the days featured quintessential artistry on their covers before stock photography and fonts took over most of them like we see today.
Hence in the present world of the digital age and graphic design that we inhabit, seeing a hand-painted poster or cover art is an absolute rarity; which is why when director Alok Sharma decided to take the old-school route for the poster of his Anshuman Jha-Sanjay Mishra starrer short film ‘BulletProof Anand’, it met its audience with a refreshing change as well as a touch of nostalgia in it.
The last time a Hindi film poster came close to a hand-painted one was Akshay Kumar’s ‘Rowdy Rathore’, but once again the poster was designed digitally. But in this case, Alok approached Shelle Mustajab – the supremely talented artist who has hand-painted Hindi crime novel covers for over 3 decades.
Alok tells us, “I was pretty sure I wanted the poster of this short to be hand-painted, as a homage to the Hindi crime novels of the 1970s. India’s very own Robert E McGinnis, Shelle Mustajab was the artist who painted these novel covers for over 3 decades – from Surendra Mohan Pathak to Ved Prakash Sharma, you name it. I travelled all the way to Shelle Sahab’s residence in Amroha, UP, convinced him to come out of retirement to create this poster for ‘Bulletproof Anand’ and he obliged. I hope this brings back the trend of hand-painted posters, an art long forgotten.”