Bollywood Posters by Jerry Pinto – review

Bollywood Posters Over the years, Sheena Sippy has shot ad campaigns for Johnson’s Baby Soap and others. She has also immortalised celebrities such as Zakir Husain, international model Naomi Campbell and politician and ex-cricketer Imran Khan. Sheena also undertakes freelance assignments for fashion magazines like Verve and Elle.

She was probably destined to do great things. She comes from one of India’s best-known film families. Sheena is the eldest daughter of director Ramesh Sippy, best known for directing the popular and critically acclaimed film Sholay (Embers). Sheena’s grandfather, G.P. Sippy, is known for several popular Bollywood hits such as Seeta Aur Geeta, Saagar and Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman.

The text for this amazing posterama is written by Jerry Pinto. He has had a long career which started at the tender age of 16. He wasn’t a trainee journalist or a “best boy” for Bollywood movies, he was a maths tutor! He has had a wealth of experience in the world of writing. He has penned poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and in 2006 he wrote Helen: The Life and Times of an H-Bomb, an affectionate portrayal of the dancing legend who had survived in the heady Mumbai film industry for 30 years.

Bollywood Posters is a glossy, large-format volume that will be sought after by Bollywood film enthusiasts, lovers of all things Indian and those who are fascinated by popular art. It contains  over 200 posters covering all styles of film. Posters of original films are contrasted with the remakes illustrating the change in taste and printing techniques.

This magnificent book charts the history of these posters from the beautifully hand-painted examples of the first posters to the digitally-perfect productions of the modern era. Perfect with regard to crispness of image, perhaps, but there was indeed something magical about the works of art of those long-gone days when the swish of a large-scale brush could draw the viewer into another world. This genre must be considered the archetypal Popular Art, as India has a huge population of film-goers who have even been rumoured to sell their own blood to buy a ticket to the movies.

It’s impossible to overestimate the importance of these film posters, not only to the Mumbai film industry but to the film-going public. Vibrant colour and scenes of gods, villains, beautiful women and an array of weaponry have graced the streets of Indian cities for generations. They advertise films of courage, comedy, drama and despair but the posters are now, quite reasonably, adored for themselves. They tell the story of Indian film and Indian society. Fabulous!.

Bollywood Posters
Author: Jerry Pinto
Photographer: Sheena Sippy
Published by: Thames and Hudson
Price: £19.95
ISBN 978-0-500-28776-7

 

Book review by Chrissie Walker © 2018