Indian film hoarding for the film Devdas (2002), oil paint on canvas, London 2002
Height: 2 m, Width: 5.5 m
Cinema India: The Art of Bollywood (Contemporary Space 01/01/0006-06/10/2002)
This hoarding by Balkrishn Arts was commissioned by the V&A as part of the' Cinema India: The Art of Bollywood' exhibition (25 June to 6 October 2002). Two artists from the studio, Ujjwal and Balkrishn Vaidya were invited to the V&A to demonstrate their artwork. This along with two other hoardings were completed on site between 24-30 June 2002. The portraits were done by Balkrishn, Ujjwal's father, owner of the firm and the more experienced of the two. Ujjwal did the background, lettering, overall outline and some of the details.
Film hoardings adorning streets and cinema fronts with their large bold images are a characteristic of the city. Hand-painted hoardings used to be a primary form of film advertising. M.F. Husain, one of Indian's most important contemporary artists, famously began his career as a hoarding painter. Today this is a dying art which is gradually being replaced by computer-generated images. ( Photographs courtesy of Jonathan Torgovnik)
The workshop of this family-run firm is in a tiny gully off a main road in Bombay (Mumbai). Here, they produce traditional hand-painted hoardings measuring as much as 10 feet in height by 20 feet in width. The painters make rough sketches of the design using films stills for reference. Once this has been approved, the canvas is prepared, the design is scaled up on to the large canvas using a grid system, and painted. Transferring a small-scale design through to completion of the painting takes 1-2 days. Balkrishna Arts is one of a handful of firms still practising this art form.
Film hoarding, oil paint on canvas. The design was taken from the compact disc cover for this film. In the centre is the main male character from the film, Devdas, played by Shah Rukh Khan. On the right is a portrait of his childhood sweetheart played by Aiswarya Rai and on the left is a portait of the courtesan who falls in love with him played by Madhuri Dixit. The film title is on the left hand side in bold white lettering and the background is a vivid shade of orange.