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Artist Ranjit Dahiya has come a long way from his days as the Sonepat lad painting movie posters on dhaba walls at Murthal.

Written by Parul |
June 22, 2010 5:29:28 am

Dahiya’s posters on Bollywood are set to be shown in Paris

Artist Ranjit Dahiya has come a long way from his days as the Sonepat lad painting movie posters on dhaba walls at Murthal. The journey promises to become even more colourful,as the 32-year-old prepares for his exhibition beginning July 3 at La Rochelle,Paris,giving final touches to his paintings of 35 film posters. Dahiya specialised in graphics and printmaking from the Chandigarh College of Art,following it up with a Master’s in graphic design from NID,Ahmedabad. Currently,he runs a company called Digital Moustache in Mumbai,which designs mobile applications for social projects.

Titled ‘History of Bollywood’,the exhibition includes posters from films dating back to 1913 right up to the present day. One of the paintings depicts a scene from the 1913 movie Raja Harishchandra. “It’s oil on canvas and a tribute to Dadasaheb Phalke,the father of Indian cinema,” he says. “I found a black and white poster and then created one in colour,trying to capture the personality and expression of each star and recreating the scene,”he adds,sipping tea with old friends on the college campus.

The other posters capture the intensity of actors like Raj Kapoor and Guru Dutt,the joie de vivre of Kishore Kumar,the beauty of Rekha in Umrao Jaan or the ethereal appeal of Aishwarya Rai,scenes from movies like Barsaat,Do Bigha Zameen,Mother India,Bobby,Sholay,Hum Aapke Hain Kaun,Satya to recent hits like Taare Zameen Par,Dev D,Jodha Akbar and Omkara. “Choosing from 120 films and finding references to create the character proved to be a daunting task,as also the fact that I paint on huge canvases,” Dahiya says.

Dahiya’s first significant break came soon after he passed out of NID,when he became involved in a wall project with some former NID students. “I painted fast and had lots of fun. I used the background of art and the input of design well.” Soon,Dahiya got a chance to be a part of Salon De Cinema,a four-day show in Paris where he painted a poster of Sarkar Raj that was 32-feet long and 12-feet high. “It was done on canvas in four days and signed by Amitabh Bachchan,” he recalls. The fact that Bollywood is popular in France also helps. “They do not know our language but are familiar with our actors,” he adds.

Dahiya becomes sombre when talking about the future of posters. “It is our heritage and needs to be revived,” he signs off.

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