Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
A mural of Amitabh Bachchan. Indranil Mukherjee / AFP
A mural of Amitabh Bachchan. Indranil Mukherjee / AFP

Mumbai gets an old-school movie mural makeover

Two film buffs are brightening up the home of Bollywood ahead of Indian cinema's centenary next year.

Frustrated by the lack of old Bollywood glamour on the streets of Mumbai, two film buffs are trying to brighten up India's movie capital with mural tributes ahead of the industry's 100th birthday.

The iconic image of a young Amitabh Bachchan, the biggest star of Hindi cinema, has been lovingly recreated on a roadside wall, replicating the dying style of hand-painted poster art.

Bachchan's character Vijay joined the underworld of the city's mean streets in the 1975 hit Deewaar, but the film's antihero now has pride of place on a lane in the hip Bandra suburb, home to many film stars.

Despite the abundance of slick new posters plastered around Mumbai, the artist Ranjit Dahiya says he was struck at how the city's rich film heritage was being forgotten in recent years.

"I couldn't see any Bollywood in Bombay, yet this is the city of Bollywood," says Dahiya, using the city's old name. "So I thought I should paint the walls on the street."

The mural in Bandra is the second to be completed as part of the Bollywood Art Project (BAP), a self-funded venture set up by Dahiya and his friend Tony Peter to create film artwork "accessible for everyone".

The duo hopes to finish about one painting a month in the run-up to May next year, when India will celebrate a century since its first silent feature film Raja Harishchandra opened in Mumbai in 1913.

Getting permission is not always straightforward, with plans for a 70-foot dancing girl thwarted by unimpressed locals.

"It depends on the people," says Dahiya. "Some people are sensible and really know about the art."

Their murals also pay tribute to Bollywood's old poster painters, whose art Dahiya laments "is going to die" as digital media technology takes over.

It is one of many aspects of the prolific film industry that some fans would like to see preserved in Mumbai, whose role at the heart of the movie world may have passed its glory days.

A recent exhibition at the National Gallery of Modern Art explored the relationship between Mumbai and the movies, while the first part of a museum dedicated to Indian cinema is due to open in December.

"It's going to be pretty huge," says DP Reddy, the joint secretary of India's information and broadcasting ministry, adding that 1.2 billion rupees (Dh73 million) will be spent on the project. - AFP

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 Hajer Almosleh, the winner of the last year's short story competition, at her home in Dubai. Duncan Chard for the National

Get involved with The National’s short-story competition

Writers have two weeks to craft a winning submission, under the title and theme "The Turning Point".

 It is believed that the desert-like planet of Tatooine is being recreated for Star Wars: Episode VII. Could that be where filming in the UAE comes in? Courtesy Lucasfilms

Could the force be with us? The search for Star Wars truth

On the hunt for the Star Wars: Episode VII set, which a growing number of people are sure is in Abu Dhabi, but no one can seem to find.

 With an estimated 18,000 comic and film fans having already paid a visit to this weekend’s Middle East Film and Comic Con, organisers are hopeful they will have surpassed last year total, of 21,000, by its close. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

In pictures: Middle East Film and Comic Con in Dubai

Dubai's World Trade Center was awash with people visiting this weekend’s Middle East Film and Comic Con. Here's some of our best pictures.

 Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak, the Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, presents Quincy Jones with the Abu Dhabi Festival Award as the Admaf founder Hoda Al Khamis-Kanoo applauds. Courtesy Abu Dhabi Festival.

A candid talk with Quincy Jones about the UAE, Lil Wayne and the Abu Dhabi Festival award

The Abu Dhabi Festival honoree Quincy Jones discusses his legendary career as a music producer, the return of Dubai Music Week and why he can’t handle the rapper Lil Wayne.

 Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Prince George of Cambridge arrive at Wellington Military Terminal on an RNZAF 757 from Sydney on April 7, 2014 in Wellington, New Zealand. Chris Jackson / Getty Images

In pictures: Will and Kate visit Australia and New Zealand

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Prince George of Cambridge are on a tour Down Under for three weeks.

 A protester gives a victory sign during clashes near Tahrir Square in Cairo in November 2011. Goran Tomasevic / Reuters

Street life: humanity’s future depends on ability to negotiate and sustain public space

Negotiating our ever more crowded cities and maintaining vibrant public spaces are among the major challenges facing humanity in the coming decades.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National