Book Blog for Clara Lander Library

Authored by: Kenlyn Collins on November 1, 2011


Picture House: the art of Bollywood

This past June Toronto welcomed the International Indian Film Awards, which paid tribute to the stars of Bollywood. Meanwhile, the Art Gallery of Mississauga displayed an exhibition showcasing the art of Bollywood.

Picture House: The Art of Bollywood guides the reader through the history and influences of the poster in Indian Cinema. While Indian cinema dates back to 1914, the first poster dates to 1924 with the film Kalyan Khajina. An essay by the curator Ali Adil Khan goes beyond the exotic imagery to give attention to the “unsung heroes of Indian cinema”. Khan selects several prolific artists who were able to affect the success of the films they promoted through their art. Actors and actresses who were otherwise unheard of became larger than life in brightly coloured dynamic artwork. In the 1960’s photo cutting and pasting techniques were incorporated into older styles of painted posters resulting in some of the more famous posters known today.

While hand painted posters, billboards, and banners are no longer used to promote Indian Cinema their influence on visual culture is notable. This catalogue does an excellent job of guiding the reader through the history in an accessible and informative way. A timeline combined with Khan’s essay gives just enough information to give the reader a better appreciation of the artwork. With dozens of images of colourful and exciting posters this catalogue is well worth a read.

For books on modern Indian art at WAG Library, we suggest:

  • Neo-tantra contemporary Indian painting inspired by tradition - 759.954 N 438 1985
  • Chalo! India a new era of Indian art - 709.54 C 439 2009
  • Modern Indian painting - 759.954 R 215
  • Picture House: the art of Bollywood -709.71 M 648 2011

Want to write your own book review? We only ask it's from the Clara Lander library. Have a great art book the library should have on its shelf, post your recommendation here.

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