Indian film showcards on display at Ontario museum

MUMBAI: With just a couple of days remaining for the IIFA celebrations to kick off at Ontario, an exhibition called ‘Bollywood Cinema Showcards: Indian Film Art from the 1950s to the 1980s’, is currently going on at the Royal Ontario Museum.

The exihibition comprises 77 examples of showcards from the Hartwick Collection, accompanied by other familiar forms of poster art and film advertising.

The exhibition examines showcards as art. It also sets them in a social and historical framework, connecting the showcards and the films to the prevailing events and influences of the time they were produced in.

The show highlights examples of this art form from the collection of Angela Hartwick, who, in her travels to India, managed to acquire more than 200 examples of cinema showcards, a form of advertising that was prevalent long before billboards and posters came on the scene.

In the earlier made films, showcards formed only one part of the publicity machine; posters were certainly the most important element in film advertising that also included song booklets, press ads, billboards and advertising.

“Those were the days when a lot of paint work used to be done that took us several days to complete, “ says former poster painter Y Pradyuman of Bhakti Arts.

The showcards were displayed in lobbies in glass cases for a look of cinema-goers as they waited to see a film, or during the interval.

Showcards use paint and photo collage to create a unique form of poster art: images were cut from film stills and pasted onto painted backgrounds and then were tinted by having paint applied to them.

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