Monday, April 30, 2012

Movie Posters

Returning to Guwahati after a year or so, I was struck by how much the city has changed. Right now, the entire city is a veritable traffic mess. Sometimes it takes you an hour to cross a 5-km stretch. The point is the city is growing richer and more populous, despite the fact that development activities in the North East are still not as fast as it should be. But, there’s a retail boom, and number of vehicles have increased exponentially. People have money, no matter how this money has been earned. But, the infrastructure remains the same. The roads are the same; only more vehicles, much more than it can accommodate. They are building a flyover at the busy Jalukbari intersection for the last two years and it’s not over yet.

I remember the Guwahati of my childhood when the roads were huge and vehicles less. You sit on a city bus and look out of the window and read the hoarding on the roadside. It was one of the pleasures of travelling in the city, reading sign boards. Among the advertisements and government notifications, those street side hoardings also had posters of recent Hindi films showing at cinema halls like Pragjyoti, Udeshna or Calvin. It was my first introduction to cinema, looking at the then newcomer Aamir Khan in a huge banner proclaiming the arrival of ‘Quyamat Se Quyamat Tak.’

This time around, I did not see a single poster of Hindi films on Guwahati roads. It’s not that Hindi films no longer play in theatres. They do. The medium of marketing has changed. How did this happen?
At that time when the so called Liberation Front had the power and support of the public, they had banned Hindi films in theatres in Assam, in a bid to promote indigenous culture. It was when the posters were banished from the public space. Now, nobody cares about the ban, or what the Liberation Front wants. But, those film posters failed to make a comeback.

I did see some posters of Assamese films though, especially that of ‘Tula aru Teja,’ a fantasy, fairy tale Assamese film being played in the theaters. According to whatever I have heard, it’s a good film.

No comments:

Post a Comment