Experience 18: Get a poster made by a Bollywood poster painter

by Oliver Smith

Today we passed back through Delhi on our way east through India, and found our way to the studio of a local artist, Mr Vijay Singh.

But we’re not talking any old artist here. Vijay learned his craft as an old-school Bollywood movie poster painter, painting famous faces on the sides of cinemas – a discipline requiring particular expertise in bushy moustaches, big explosions and moody sideways glances. Sadly – because of mass printing and big multiplexes – Bollywood poster painting is a dying art in India. The studio where Vijay works was once full of poster painters. Now it’s just him.

We commissioned Vijay to make a poster for our trip after reading about his work on the expat blog Our Delhi Struggle. The people in the middle of our poster are the Wheelers – the couple whose journey from London to Sydney led to the first Lonely Planet guidebook 40 years ago, and whose trip we’re recreating. The Hindi script says ‘Across the Planet’. The Mini is the car we travelled in from London to Istanbul. And there’s a tiger jumping over the Lonely Planet logo... for no real reason.

On reflection, we’d probably like more explosions next time, and maybe a gun or two. But I do still very much like my Bollywood moustache.



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