“Hero paida nahi hota, banta hai,” says Harshvardhan Kapoor in the teaser for Bhavesh Joshi Superhero, the Vikramadtiya Motwane-directed film in which he plays the titular character. The minute-long clip of the movie, which is centred on a man’s quest to avenge the murder of his best friend, features a montage of him training to take on the bad guys. His face is hidden throughout, either under a superhero mask, a bike helmet or in the shadows.
The film’s posters, which were also released on April 18, are similarly shrouded in mystery – the silhouette of the superhero, caught mid-fight, stands out starkly against a vibrant background. Given the film industry’s proclivity to have its stars front and centre on a film’s poster, these graphic novel-themed ones are quite unusual.
“The Batman and Superman movie posters showcase the character and not the actor, which is what we did,” says Motwane, who wanted the posters to have a “superhero, anime” look and use a lot of primary colours. The decision to highlight the superhero’s DIY mask, with LED lights around the eyes, came as it plays an important role in the film.
His brief prompted Sucharita Sengupta Suri, owner of graphic design firm Seek Red, to compose the posters such that they felt like pages from a graphic novel. “Such posters are common abroad, so we did not feel like we were entering a new space. However, posters in India don’t usually look like this,” she says. Suri began work on the poster a year ago.
Ranjan Singh, the film’s co-producer, describes the posters as ‘stark’ and ‘uncluttered’. “Vikramaditya had a clear idea of what he wanted, he had a vision. Since the movie is set in the streets of Mumbai, the posters look a bit like graffiti you would find on the city’s walls. As the film belongs to the superhero genre and is also quite action-packed, the posters had to look very different from those of other films,” he says.
Bhavesh Joshi Superhero releases on May 25.