By Ruchika Kher
Mumbai, Sep 4, You can now get your portraits done Bollywood style. Indian Hippy, a two-year-old online company, offers hand-painted portraits customised to suit your preferences. The venture has also revived the dying art form of Hindi film posters.
“I’ve always interpreted Bollywood film poster art as a larger-than-life depiction – synonymous with the stuff that our movies are made of,” Hinesh Jethwani, founder and head of Mumbai-based Indian Hippy, told IANS.
“The sets, songs, costumes, etc. in our films are so colourful and grand that when translated into poster art, the results are truly fascinating. What fascinated me most about Bollywood film posters was the amalgamation of so many different concepts – advertising, art and storyboard depiction – all rolled into one canvas.”
Indian Hippy offers hand-painted posters for those who commissioned them and doesn’t make use of photoshop or any other digital trickery. People can choose from thousands of movie posters, from the 1960s to now.
Even though the concept is appreciated now, it was not easy for 29-year-old Jethwani to put his plans into action.
“I received a lot of discouragement from people who thought of my concept as a ridiculous whim. For many, my sudden interest in an extinct art form seemed absurd.
“Then finding authentic Bollywood film poster artists was a task in itself. The industry had shifted to digital format in the early 1990s.
“With film poster artists being displaced by this wave for nearly two decades, it was like looking for a needle in a haystack. Most artists had sought early retirement and had returned back to their villages. A few had shifted careers entirely.
“I pressed on and here we are today! Very few film poster artists remain in India who haven’t given up the paintbrush entirely, and I am glad to have found them and to be working with them,” he added.
Jethwani has 12 artists working with him and he has divided them into two groups. One has billboard artists who specialise in painting big artwork and billboards, while other group paints banners and poster.
Indian Hippy has given the artists a new lease of life.
“Our generation was lost and forgotten after everything became digitised. Hand-painting disappeared, leaving us with no job. Most of us changed jobs and some were left with no jobs. It was a difficult phase,” Lucas Mondal, 58, told IANS.
“We used to sit and remember the times when we used to make posters and billboards and what fun it used to be. While walking on the road, we could say, ‘I have painted this’. Now we have just memories.
“But Indian Hippy has come as a bright spot in our lives. It encouraged us to pick paint brush again and do what we love doing. Even financially it has helped us a lot. We are also learning new designs now and the work is very satisfying,” said Mandal.
The artists are paid on assignment basis.
“The payment depends upon the detailing of the poster, how much effort has been put in, the number of hours consumed and the size of the poster,” said Jethwani.
The price range of the posters also depends on various factors, like layout, number of faces, size (as small as A3 size and as large as 30 feet), quality of the medium – oil or acrylic paints – and the canvas used.
Depending on these factors, prices can vary. The price of A3 sized portraits starts at Rs.5,000 onwards. It usually takes 7 to 10 days to finish an order.
When asked which posters are the most sought after by customers, Jethwani said: “We receive orders for posters ranging from vintage Bollywood movies to the more recent hits, as well as the occasional Hollywood film. Among vintage Bollywood films, ‘Mughal-e-Azam’ is the most preferred by customers.”
It’s not just Indians who are crazy about it, people from all over the world have been sending orders.
Placing the order is also quite easy – through the website www.hippy.in. Select a favourite film poster, then send photographs of the person whose picture needs to be on the poster.
“Our customer segment comprises a mix of both. Our online, e-commerce website allows us to serve a worldwide audience. Customers looking for hand-painted customised posters are pouring in from all over the world. We have completed paintings for clients far and wide, including countries like Italy, Netherlands and the UK among others,” said Jethwani.
(Ruchika Kher can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)