Mumbai’s Walls Get Bollywood Kitsch
The Bollywood Art Project is turning Mumbai’s landscape into a Bollywood poster
The Bollywood Art Project (BAP) is a quirky idea that’s making larger than life canvases out of Mumbai’s walls, celebrating the city’s love and obsession with Bollywood. Artist and graphic designer Ranjit Dahiya started India’s first urban street art project BAP in 2012. He wanted to commemorate a century of Hindi cinema by giving the city’s landscape a zany splash of Bollywood.
Millions of people visit the city every year to ‘see’ Bollywood and yet there is no visual representation of Indian cinema here. I started BAP with the aim of bringing the essence of Bollywood on the streets of Bombay and making it accessible to the common man.
– Ranjit Dahiya
BAP takes us back in time to the charming hand painted film posters that flourished before digital technology took over. Its grandest achievement so far is the Dadasaheb Phalke mural, overlooking the sea link in Bandra Reclamation. Check out this stunning video of Dahiya’s remarkable feat.
Pretty amazing isn’t it?
A resident of Chapel Road himself, Dahiya believes that his art must appeal to its neighbours more than anyone else. And so far, Mumbaikars have loved the idea of turning their gallis and exteriors into Bollywood posters.
Dahiya’s first BAP mural was a gorgeous wall poster of Anarkali (1953) on Chapel Road in Bandra. Here’s a look at how the BAP mastermind pulled this one off.
Anarkali was followed by the angry young man of Deewar (1975). This mural at Bandstand needed a horizontal landscape to fit Bachchan’s long legs and his attitude.
Just three days after Dahiya finished painting Bachchan, came the tragic news of Rajesh Khanna’s demise in 2012. Dahiya couldn’t hold back and started working on his tribute for the legendary Anand (1971) actor immediately. Interestingly, Rajesh Khanna adorns the adjacent wall of the same house that hosts Deewar’s Bachchan. .
It takes Dahiya about 10-12 days to create house sized murals. What’s really remarkable is the way he goes about it. He saves up about Rs 25,000-30,000 and then goes around the city ringing doorbells asking for permission from stumped residents to let him paint their walls!
Check out what else he’s been painting away.
Guess who’s prying eyes you’re staring at?
This one of Mogambo from Shekar Kapur’s Mr India (1987) is epic!
And when money runs out, Dahiya simply switches canvases. Check out this gorgeous bamboo chick dedicated to the lovely Sharmila Tagore from An Evening in Paris (1967).
BAP is such a unique example of creativity buzzing its way through everything, ignoring the mundane challenges. Mumbai darshan has never been so much fun! If you spot any new ones do let us know!
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