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Last week Srinivasan Rajagopal who blogs about ‘plagiarism in the visual arts‘ linked to some posts I had done on movie poster/font rip-offs – and that set off a huge IMPA binge. I found a lot of stuff that looked like other stuff – rip-offs, tributes, parodies, whatever, and I decided to bite the blog that fed me a lot of traffic and start my own balposh section, blogging about stuff that looks like other stuff.

So, here goes (following Srini’s convention, the poster on the right came first)dreamcatcherpianist_ver3

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Stumbled on the poster at Your Entertainment Now. Inspite of all the beautiful faces on it, the poster looks bad (early-’90s PowerPoint collage). But do check out the movie. With four of my fav actresses – Jennifer Aniston, Drew Barrymore, Scarlett Johansson, Jennifer Connelly – plus Ben Affleck and Kris Kristofferson…how bad can it get.

Releasing on February 6, 2009. Gotta check if bhai already has the DVD.
Wiki   Trailer


Ferreting out the ‘inspiration’ behind popular B-K-T-Mollywood movies and songs is a thriving cottage industry. While Wiki is still the best source for info about movies (Saroja: Judgement Night, Dasdivaniya: My Life Without Me/ Bucket List) not many sites can beat (I-two FS, Inspirations in Indian Film Songs) when it comes to giving Anu Malik-types sleepless nights.


But what ’bout balposh? (Sangham-speak for wall posters).


I remember the time when brick-effect-on-Vijaykanth’s-face was very cutting-edge for Tamil movie poster art. Today, the writing (pasting? sticking?) on the wall is very clear. Tamil movie posters have distanced themselves from the Dravidian political poster funda (check out the Krish Ashok’s take), and discovered cool – innovative layouts, unusual colour combinations, unreadable typography.


But the 35 bucks DVD to 35mm formula seems to have impacted poster design also (I had blogged about Siva Mansula Sakthu and Satyam posters, didn’t want to blog about Billa and Eagen titles, Lost inspired layouts, the connection between SaSi and SS Music…)


Then last month I saw something in Landmark that can only happen in the world of cut-and-paste – Ranbir Kapoor kissing Evan Rachel Wood. The blues and the greens were exactly the same, the actors positioned at exactly the same angle, I couldn’t make out where Saawariya ended and where Across the Universe began.


Jai guru deva…Saawariya Saawariya…


Was the title font of Satyam, the new Vishal movie about an upright cop, inspired by Satya, RGV’s underworld classic? Guess we will never know the ‘other side of the truth’


“You probably don’t know John Alvin by name, but if you’ve stepped foot in the cinema anytime in the last 30 years you know his work. He was a poster artist that was responsible for some of the most iconic poster work of not only my generation, but the generation before mine, going back to some of Mel Brooks’ earlier movies.” (from Ain’t It Cool News. Also check out the NY Times tribute)

John Alvin designed the posters for 135 movies including Aladdin, Arachnophobia, Beauty & the Beast, Cocoon, Color Purple, Empire of the Sun, ET, Hook, Lion King and Blazing Saddles (his debut).

More Alvin posters available at the Internet Movie Poster Awards – worth a visit especially if you have had days when the posters in the lobby gave you more pleasure than the main feature.

Vaal kashnam – Balposh is Sangham-speak for Wall Poster


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May 2020