Movie promotion has come a long way from the travelling loudspeakers to slick motion posters and teasers of trailers (of trailers). One thing that has remained a constant through all of this is – the Bollywood movie poster. It certainly has moved from the street walls to our phones, from hand-painted to digital – but the essential function has stayed the same – letting more and more people know about the movie.
A movie poster can be judged on various criteria – Is this something someone would put up on their wall? Does it generate enough intrigue for audiences to go and watch the movie? Does the poster reflect the theme of the movie?
However the more objective and pertinent question is – Is it different? Is it imaginative? Does it stand out from the rest? We asked these questions of Bollywood movie posters (from the last 15 years) and found that there are many recurring styles – cliches Bollywood resorts to for different genres. Styles are so prevalent that posters just keep rehashing the same visual tropes. Here are a few –
1. The Top-Bottom – Want to show off your romantic leads? Just have them floating at the top and then use a generic image below – either someone walking away or standing. This format almost feels like the creators demarcated the top and bottom of the poster as – Romantic-Drama or Romantic-Thriller. Emraan Hashmi is the poster child (um) for this style.