May 25, 2010

The Art of Bollywood: Ode to a pre-digital era in Indian film poster art

Alisha Patel spends an afternoon with Rajesh Devraj, co-author of "The Art Of Bollywood", absorbing the historical outline of Bollywood poster art from the silent movie era onwards


In "The Art Of Bollywood" authors Rajesh Devraj and Edo Bouman document the hand-painted movie posters that made Bollywood the love of the East and the fascination of the West. Devraj and Bouman successfully map a design history that extends over 70 years in their ode to one of India's most unique art forms. The book, which spans the silent era through to the 1980s and 1990s, covers a pre-digital time in Bollywood poster history.

The period from the 1920s to the 1990s was a time when Hindi cinema developed its own distinctive visual language and produced its most magnificent images. These images, both well-known and rare, grace the pages of a book that is unique in that the focus is original poster art, as differentiated from re-prints, re-release posters, and regional variations. The crudely lithographed copies that are all-too familiar have been excluded and instead the publication embraces many other great visuals created by authentic poster artists, such as old movie magazine ads and booklet covers.