Rose and Jack strike the famous ‘Titanic pose’, Don Vito Corleone stares back at you, and James Bond looks dapper with his licence-to-kill looks. Since the past week, posters of these movies, designed by a Kolkata-based creative director with an advertising agency, are being widely shared on social media. A closer inspection and you realise that Saptarshi Dey has given these posters a unique makeover — in Patachitra-style.
About how he began making such posters, Dey says, “I had got a brief for a campaign from a friend and an ad professional (Rohan Basu) a couple of years ago. He needed some Patachitra-style film posters for his campaign. It was then that I started working on these. Patachitra is a vast art form that is known throughout the country. In 2009, I travelled through various villages of West Bengal and Jharkhand to know about different Patachitra styles. I’m lucky that I got a project like this where I could utilise those learnings.” The posters, however, never got published as part of the original campaign, he adds.
A traditional style of painting, Patachitra is believed to have originated in Odisha and, through the intricate style, artists create hand-painted works on cloth-based scrolls usually depicting mythological scenes or traditional folklore. The colours primarily used are natural and earthy like blue, white, red, a palette Dey also stuck to.
Dey, who lists painting, animation and traveling as his areas of interest, says it took him around a week and a half to create all the 10 illustrations. “First, I selected the film posters and scenes for reference and then drew rough sketches/layouts with paper and pencil. I scanned those and used Photoshop to do the inking, colouring, texturing, etcetera. The idea was to select some famous and well-known films around the globe so that people can identify or match those films easily after the transformation. Also, we needed films which could be implemented to graphically engaging and catchy posters,” he tells indianexpress.com.
But it was not without any hurdles. “The idea was to achieve the look and feel of the traditional art as much as possible in terms of form, shape, colour, texture and other artistic and creative aspects. But the main challenge was the amalgamation of two different fields of art into one. All foreign films need to be adapted into our very own, ancient art form. Also, I had to keep in mind the consistency part — it should not be difficult for the people to recognise the films,” he added.
How does it feel now that the works have gone viral? “The project somehow did not take off and remained unpublished for several years. I did post these artworks casually like I post my other paintings on social media to show them to my friends. But then somehow this album got huge likes and positive feedback, with thousands of shares, posts and tweets. “Honestly, I haven’t a clue about the response I’ve got. I’m very happy and thankful to all of them,” he said excitedly.
Interestingly, Dey’s artworks are also heavily inspired by Indian artist Jamini Roy whose works are largely influenced by the pata style. One of the most well-known works of Roy is Ramayana, which is spread over 15 canvases. So, does Dey also plan to create a magnum opus inspired by the renowned artist?
“If I get the opportunity I would paint a 100X100-feet wall with this style. This kind of project should be a dream for any artist. But a project like this needs time and adequate funding. If I get some sponsorship then I would love to start one immediately,” he said, adding he has, however, started working on a few series adapting the style. “I’m getting several queries from buyers as well,” he says.