Back to the ’70s



In the post-pandemic world, a dose of nostalgia works wonders. To lend a touch of the past to his next, director Alok Sharma has fashioned the poster of `Bullet Proof Anand` as an ode to retro Hindi crime novels.

The makers wanted to bring back the craftsmanship that is almost obscure now. “I wanted the poster of the short to be hand-painted, as an homage to the Hindi crime novels of the 1970s,” says Sharma.

Artiste Shelle Mustajab

The charming specialty of hand-painted Bollywood posters has voyaged far — from filling in as a promoting medium in the golden era of Indian cinema to the current day, where it is used as a subject of interest for art lovers, historians, antique collectors, in museums, and in galleries among others. Novels back in the day featured the quintessential artistry on their covers before stock photography and fonts took over. Seeing a hand-painted poster or cover art is a rare phenomenon in the digital age, which is why when director Sharma decided to take the old-school route for the poster of `Bullet Proof Anand`, it met its audience with a refreshing change. “Shelle Mustajab, India’s very own Robert E McGinnis, was the artiste who has been painting these novel covers for over three decades — from Surendra Mohan Pathak to Ved Prakash Sharma, you name it. I travelled all the way to Shelle saab’s residence in Amroha, UP, convinced him to come out of retirement to create this poster for the film and he obliged,” explains the director of the film that stars Sanjay Mishra, Jaaved Jaaferi and Anshuman Jha.

Alok Sharma

The last time a Hindi film used a hand-painted poster was for the Akshay Kumar-starrer Rowdy Rathore, but it was designed digitally. “I hope this brings back the trend of hand-painted posters, an art form long forgotten.”



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