What’s with this Poster thing you’ve got?

I had someone asking me the question a few days ago.

I recounted the story and I thought it would be nice to post the tale.

I also Quiz and am a member of the Quiz Foundation of India. In one of the quizzes, Vinod Ganesh a.k.a Mensa asked a stunner which was around the inspiration for the Poster of Brokeback Mountain

I was stumped and really enjoyed the question. That set me off on a movie poster inspirations trip for quite sometime – I  discovered cool sources online like IMPAwards, MonkeyArtAwards and Orkaan . Somewhere along the way, I started off this blog after 2 failed attempts on creating or curating content online ( Intentionally Left Blank & Worst Videos Ever).

Then in 2009, I stumbled upon a brilliant blog run by Babu Kuriakose which somewhere got me wanting to do a little more. Babu’s blog had a lot of content which I liked and I realised while running through his blog that he worked right opposite my office. I reached out to him and we started catching up at the mobile tea shop (read pushcart) outside our offices. The period between Oct 2009 and May 2010 was full of brilliant discussions on Beatles, Movies, Music and obviously Movie Posters. It was almost like we were trying to inspire one another to make more connections on inspired posters. See more of Babu’s brilliance. Babu sadly is not blogging any more. I blog very infrequently. But, am inspired from time to time – a post or two happen – then – silence.

Why do I look at posters?

If I look at visual art in its current form, video is complicated and is transient – in terms of how long it physically is available & in vogue. Paintings by contemporary artists are devoid of detail and embellishment – atleast, they miss the simple things I like in paintings. Movie posters and in their crunched down avatar – DVD covers – are ubiquitous. Once I started digging, I found many similarities between Movie posters & Paintings – Posters feeding off paintings more than the reverse flow. My interest in Renaissance art & movies in general helped connect the dots.



Plagiarism in Forthcoming Movies – 13 – Akshay Kumar’s Rowdy Rathore & Khiladi 786

There is very little difference between the posters showing the fist here – hand-drawn with Moustache and shaven with sunglasses.

And what is it with creative agencies wanting Akshay to burst out of every poster. Seriously.

Well, You burst on the scene already a legend, the unwashed phenomenon, the original vagabond (Apologies to Joan Baez)


Plagiarism in Forthcoming Movies – 13 – Vijay’s Yohan Adhyayam Ondru

I Love Shameless Rip-Offs!!

Vijay’s forthcoming movie Yohan rips off from a 2008 French flick Largo Winch.

The emphasis of the other posters is on showing how cool the hero is and the extent of his globetrotting. Reminds me somewhere of the brilliant I am Legend poster set.

The one where he is kneeling before a red car reminds me of some poster I am not able to place a finger on.


Art Inspired by other works of Art – 01 – Johannes Vermeer’s Girl Reading a Letter by an Open Window

Vermeer was one of the greatest Dutch masters of the 17th Century.  Like Caravaggio, the name Vermeer induces deep respect. What is to be remembered is that his works were “rediscovered” after critical re-assessments made him out to be the unsung genius.

His body of work numbers just 35 paintings and that in Canvas years is merely a handful. But the number of artists, writers, film-makers & composers who have been obsessed with him & his life in Delft is stunning.

Let us start with a famous Artist – Edward Hopper (Of NighthawksAutomat Fame) :

Edward Hopper’s Morning in a City borrows its visual language from Vermeer’s A Girl reading a letter by an Open Window. The window in a corner is omnipresent in many of Vermeer’s works and is a device borrowed from Pieter de Hooch’s works

Tom Hunter, a British Photographer who creates vignettes based on famous paintings has captured the somber mood of Vermeer perfectly in his Woman reading a Possession Order. Tom Hunter’s own take on the photo.

Jonathan Janson is the author of the book “How to paint your own Vermeer” and is also a successful artist. His version of  the same painting has a “Young Woman reading Glamour” Magazine

More versions , courtesy Google Images

And finally, the Variants of the painting by none other than Vermeer himself!

Marching Ants – Allah Ke Banday, City of Gold & other Bollywood Posters

The creative agency has figured out a way to make the poster look good – sprinkle some gold dust and get the sun behind the subject. Voilà – Classy looking poster. But, when you do it too many times, it is called overkill.

Marching Ants have created some of my all time favourite Bollywood posters – Be it Ishqiya, Dev D, Help, LSD, Udaan, Blue Umbrella or Udaan (again).

At the same time, they have done enough shameless rip-offs

Kisna (From Braveheart),

Lakshya (Shadow Concept from Mad Magazine & Some Posters),

Johnny Gaddar (From Big Lebowski and countless posters featuring sunglasses with reflective surfaces,

Johnny Gaddar (Again) (From countless “Running Man” posters)

Once upon a time in Mumbai from Mr & Mrs Smith,

Anjaana Anjaani (From An Education) and even their old posters like Ek Hasina Thi,Vaastu Shaastra & Goal were lifted .

Take a look at their creations and you will see both the Genius & the Copycat there. Sad that a talented agency has to resort to pinching others’ work.

Now for the Overkill bit…