D'Souza, Robert and Blamey, David (eds.)
Living pictures: perspectives on the film poster in India,
London, GB, Open Editions, 260pp.
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This is the first book to be devoted to the poster art of Indian cinema, tracking its development as a popular form of cultural iconography from the year of Indian independence until the present day.
By celebrating the allure of poster art imagery from all over India, Living Pictures challenges the primacy of Bollywood visual principles and reflects with accuracy the experience of encountering posters on India’s streets. Lesser-known material from film industries such as those in Tamil Nadu and Kerela are afforded equal recognition alongside their more recognisable Bombay cousins. Likewise, archetypal posters for cinema classics from the golden age are obliged to occupy the same physical space as more obscure and crudely produced contemporary designs.
In this way, the film poster’s very existence is presented as an ongoing process of redefinition and change. Instead of telling the reader exactly what to think, this book invites us to reflect on the meaning of this unique and forceful visual medium, back from the surface of its physicality, through its everyday use and out into the world.
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