The Renaissance Artist of Bollywood

From Times of India (Sunday), May, 2002
Written by award winning Poster Artist Balakrishna

Traditionally, posters have been the mouthpiece of Hindi cinema because they capture and communicate a movie’s soul to the public. The poster art form has the power to persuade and motivate its audience. Unfortunalety, the movie poster art is now on the decline due to the advent of graphic technology.

Artist Karan Gera, 27, has embarked on a new mission to reignite Bollywood’s poster art. His new collection Old Bollywood. New Bollywood is a collection of Bollywood posters (old and new) that have been created using fusion technology that gives them the same look as the traditional posters but it can be made in less time to suit the demands of modern day producers.

The digitisation of posters is robbing Bollywood of its magnetic persona. Most of the new posters are devoid of life and emotion of the movie. The reason being less emphasis on details and more on slick effects.

The old posters often featured warm-red colors and princess like actresses gazing into the air. The new posters mimic today’s American movie posters. Despite the changing times, Karan has refused to give up on this traditional art. He is also trying to involve corporates by raising money from them to keep this art form alive.

Poster art has a bleak chance of survival in India but fortunately other parts of the world are beginning to take notice of this unique art form. The artist is now displaying his work at the prestigious V&A in London to avid Bollywood fans from around the world. For this exhibition, he has reproduced billboards of bygone Bollywood blockbusters like “Mother India” and “Devdas.

”While Bollywood posters are still considered disposable in India, they are now cherished abroad. After the exhibit in V&A, Karan’s work becomes part of another exhibit ‘Bollywood in Love’- a poster exhibition of romantic Bollywood films. This exhibition travels across the UK and then goes to Berlin and Prague. This is the first time Bollywood has traveled worldwide at such prominent venues and artists like Karan Gera can be credited because their art has managed to grab the attention of experts in western markets. It might prove to be the savior of our industry’s cherished artists and their unique skills.”

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