Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Posternama: The hidden language in Movie Posters

I love posters. And I also love movies. What's better than combining both of those in Posternama? (Actually the answer to all such questions is: Himesh Reshammiya! But since he isn't around, I'll do a Posternama instead)

So what are the posters of Bollywood's upcoming movies telling us? 

Karan Johar is a super savvy marketer. Which is why the blah-ness of this poster disappointed me.

The title of the movie is in a Varsity font. This movie must be about college! Above the title is Karan's name, which says you may not recognize these people below but hey, we all know Karan Johar! Good move, marketing.

Below the title strut the film's three photogenic leads: Siddharth Malhotra, Alia Bhatt and Varun Dhawan. All of them have their bodies cocked at the waist - these people aren't ordinary, they're slouchy cool! Alia has a honking bag slung over her arm and is wearing shorts. She is stylish and a hottie (although your opinion might be different). Varun appears to be wearing a funky necklace made with football shoes. No silly, he's such a jock that he walks around always ready to play in a game.

Gates to distant college-like building frame the background. The gates have seals on them - translation: expensive and exclusive educational institution (or it could also mean: "We reused the sets from Mohabbattein")

What the poster says: This is the story of three alpha students - any of whom might become Student of the Year in an expensive college. If you are looking for more, watch the trailer. You already did? Then that's all we have folks! This movie is about dhamaal not intellect - kind of like college. Grade: B

All kinds of things are wrong with the design of this poster. First, people who don't understand English can't read it. The contrast is all wrong in the back and its gray, vaguely making it look all snowy which gives the artwork a remarkably flat feel. (Since Sridevi is wearing sober colors, someone in the Art Department probably ran out of ideas to make her pop in the front.) And you can barely see Sridevi's face! Given that most people will go to see The Formerly Voluptuous One, that's a no no.

From what little you can make of the background, its set in phoren - possibly with some kind of municipal or governmental tie-in suggested by the building with columns and flags on the right. Since Sridevi is decked out in a simple saree and pigtail, you have to assume she is a fish out of water. Her smile and arms (not to mention the ticker tape around her) indicate that she breaks out of her behenji shell and finds glory and victory. Kaamwaali Rights Now!

What the poster says: A behenji finds her wings and takes flight in a phoren setting. Since this can't be all you come to watch, its going to be a metaphor for something. Trust us. Grade: C

Easily the best poster on this list, the artwork of Heroine conveys glamor, stardom, luxury, gossip and sharabi-kebabi behavior. Placing Kareena lying down with her feet up instantly makes her more interesting to look at. She's in bed (suggestive!) but still wearing awesome glittery shorts and blouse. Her clothes are sexy (befitting a sex symbol) but modest (befitting someone about to get married soon in real life).

Pictures of her adorn the wall - one of them says "Bollywood's reigning Queen". Magazines featuring her lie tossed on the bed. Not only is Kareena a major star in this movie and constantly buzzed about by the papparazi, but she is also majorly narcissistic - basically your average movie superstar.

A glass of wine lies on its side, with is contents spilling over. This woman is a sinner! But really, wine (and cigarettes) always feature prominently in Madhur Bandharkar movies in the hands of women who are shown to be in a downward spiral (or at least heading towards emotional ruin). The picture is color toned beautifully, the askew orientation of the title is inspired, Kareena looks dazzling and the poster conveys everything it should.

What the poster says: This movie is an exposé on the up and down life of a Bollywood superstar heroine. Grade: A

The movie remake of Paresh Rawal's popular play "Krishan vs Kanhaiya" is a bit of a lightning rod when it comes to the poster department. Paresh is at the center of the poster - thus indicating that he is the main guy in the movie (not God or Akshay Kumar as the title or other lesser posters might have you believe). Paresh is raising an upturned palm with a sarcastic smile on his lips - he is *Gasp!* mocking God!

Now since Paresh, ostensibly, plays a Hindu in the movie, we get pictures of Hindu Gods surrounding Paresh. Whatever happened to Indian secularism? Shouldn't Paresh be challenging the concept of God in all religions? Where's Jesus and Zarathustra and all the others? Wouldn't it have been awesomely interesting if the designers of this poster had had the balls to incorporate everyone? Major wimp out!

Also the whole thing looks like the cover of an Anup Jalota CD.

What the posters says: Oh My Mostly-Male Hindu God! Grade: C

A thinly veiled reference to a long standing urban slang is meant to convey the impression that this will be a vulgar and over the top comedy. (In the movie it refers to Kismat, Love, Paisa, Dilli.) Vivek Oberoi and Mallika Sherawat are both inserted in a single oversize T-shirt bearing the word "Screwed" - indicating that they have both been forced together by circumstances (its KISMAT!) and got messed up. Its implied they are both wearing nothing underneath (its LOVE!).

Vivek looks stunned (probably because he has to act in crap like this now) but Mallika is smiling (probably because she is at least getting crap like this to act in). There is a white couch on a blue backdrop - this tells me absolutely nothing unless there is also a therapist in the movie.

Money (its PAISA!) lies on the floor. Guns are pointed at our stars. Clearly a bunch of people are out to get Vivek and Mallika. A VHS tape peeks out from underneath the title - its probably important (especially if you can find a VHS player around these days). The L in KLPD is made to look like the Qutb Minar. This is supposed to be a reference to DILLI! but its probably just a penile symbol added to drive home the Raunchy Movie message.

What this poster says: Crazy, non-vegetarian whackiness with action! Make sure you leave your wife behind with your kids for the 930pm show Grade: D


Mind Rush said...

We were so deprived of humor...Thank goodness you are back, Drift saab! (Hope this does not mean that you got downsized from your day job....)
Awesomely hilarious comments about Kaamwaali Rights, Anup Jalota, and Himesh :-)) Great observations about body language.
Note kiya jaye: Kareena is wearing bright Red lipstick on Heroine poster. This signifies someone who is a bold seductress, or has a dangerous sexuality...and note that the word "Heroine" on the poster is also in red.
Looking forward to reading more stay around this time.

anu g said...

`Haha,I never went so much into depth on a poster!!Hilarious!
MindRush......nice to see that the drift's inhouse psychologistis still in action:).

Unknown said...

Welcome back, both of you!

Marriage Ideas said...

nice blog!! really every poster say. which type of movie and what do you like it. iam really impressed on this blog, keep it up.

Anonymous said...

Nice :)

Kanan said...

And Aspi is back with a BANG!!

Loved this one entirely. "We reused the sets from Mohabbattein" and "Anup Jalota CD" had me go LMAO...

Didn't you know? They got the KLPD white couch from Mujhse Dosti Karoge sets. ;)

Unknown said...

That couch did look familiar, now that I think about it.