Mumbai’s Walls Get Bollywood Kitsch 

The Bollywood Art Project is turning Mumbai’s landscape into a Bollywood poster

Updated
Entertainment
4 min read
BAP adds a lot of Bollywood colour to Mumbai’s dingy walls (Photo: Facebook/Bollywood Art Project)

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.

Bollywood’s biggest fan, Ranjit Dahiya poses against one of his Amitabh Bachchan murals in Bandra (Photo: Facebook/Bollywood Art Project)
Bollywood’s biggest fan, Ranjit Dahiya poses against one of his Amitabh Bachchan murals in Bandra (Photo: Facebook/Bollywood Art Project)

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.

BAP’s Anarkali mural on Chapel road (Photo: Facebook/Bollywood Art Project)
BAP’s Anarkali mural on Chapel road (Photo: Facebook/Bollywood Art Project)

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.

Work In Progress: BAP’s <i>Anarkali </i>(1953) mural on Chapel Road, Bandra (Photo: Facebook/Bollywood Art Project)
Work In Progress: BAP’s Anarkali (1953) mural on Chapel Road, Bandra (Photo: Facebook/Bollywood Art Project)
Work In Progress: BAP’s <i>Anarkali </i>(1953) mural on Chapel Road, Bandra (Photo: Facebook/Bollywood Art Project)
Work In Progress: BAP’s Anarkali (1953) mural on Chapel Road, Bandra (Photo: Facebook/Bollywood Art Project)
Work In Progress: BAP’s <i>Anarkali </i>(1953) mural on Chapel Road, Bandra (Photo: Facebook/Bollywood Art Project)
Work In Progress: BAP’s Anarkali (1953) mural on Chapel Road, Bandra (Photo: Facebook/Bollywood Art Project)
Work In Progress: BAP’s <i>Anarkali </i>(1953) mural on Chapel Road, Bandra (Photo: Facebook/Bollywood Art Project)
Work In Progress: BAP’s Anarkali (1953) mural on Chapel Road, Bandra (Photo: Facebook/Bollywood Art Project)

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.

BAP’s Amitabh Bachchan from <i>Deewar</i> (1975) gives this deewar a whole new meaning! (Photo: Facebook/Bollywood Art Project)
BAP’s Amitabh Bachchan from Deewar (1975) gives this deewar a whole new meaning! (Photo: Facebook/Bollywood Art Project)
BAP’s Amitabh Bachchan from <i>Deewar</i> (1975) gives this deewar a whole new meaning! (Photo: Facebook/Bollywood Art Project)
BAP’s Amitabh Bachchan from Deewar (1975) gives this deewar a whole new meaning! (Photo: Facebook/Bollywood Art Project)
BAP’s Amitabh Bachchan from <i>Deewar</i> (1975) gives this deewar a whole new meaning! (Photo: Facebook/Bollywood Art Project)
BAP’s Amitabh Bachchan from Deewar (1975) gives this deewar a whole new meaning! (Photo: Facebook/Bollywood Art Project)

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. .

Back to back hits: Amitabh Bachchan and Rajesh Khanna murals on adjacent walls of the same Bandstand house. (Photo: Facebook/Bollywood Art Project)
Back to back hits: Amitabh Bachchan and Rajesh Khanna murals on adjacent walls of the same Bandstand house. (Photo: Facebook/Bollywood Art Project)
Work in progress: Rajesh Khanna sketched on the exterior of a Bandstand house. (Photo: Facebook/Bollywood Art Project)
Work in progress: Rajesh Khanna sketched on the exterior of a Bandstand house. (Photo: Facebook/Bollywood Art Project)
Work in progress: Rajesh Khanna sketched on the exterior of a Bandstand house. (Photo: Facebook/Bollywood Art Project)
Work in progress: Rajesh Khanna sketched on the exterior of a Bandstand house. (Photo: Facebook/Bollywood Art Project)
Bright and finished! Dahiya’s Rajesh Khanna transformed a dull house into a lively tribute. (Photo: Facebook/Bollywood Art Project)
Bright and finished! Dahiya’s Rajesh Khanna transformed a dull house into a lively tribute. (Photo: Facebook/Bollywood Art Project)

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.

Work In Progress: ‘Madhubala’ mural on Chapel Road, Bandra (Photo: Facebook/Bollywood Art Project)
Work In Progress: ‘Madhubala’ mural on Chapel Road, Bandra (Photo: Facebook/Bollywood Art Project)
Work In Progress: ‘Madhubala’ mural on Chapel Road, Bandra (Photo: Facebook/Bollywood Art Project)
Work In Progress: ‘Madhubala’ mural on Chapel Road, Bandra (Photo: Facebook/Bollywood Art Project)
Work In Progress: ‘Madhubala’ mural on Chapel Road, Bandra (Photo: Facebook/Bollywood Art Project)
Work In Progress: ‘Madhubala’ mural on Chapel Road, Bandra (Photo: Facebook/Bollywood Art Project)
Almost done!: ‘Madhubala’ mural on Chapel Road, Bandra (Photo: Facebook/Bollywood Art Project)
Almost done!: ‘Madhubala’ mural on Chapel Road, Bandra (Photo: Facebook/Bollywood Art Project)

Guess who’s prying eyes you’re staring at?

Work In Progress: Actor Pran painted on a wall in IIT Powai (Photo: Facebook/Bollywood Art Project)
Work In Progress: Actor Pran painted on a wall in IIT Powai (Photo: Facebook/Bollywood Art Project)

This one of Mogambo from Shekar Kapur’s Mr India (1987) is epic!

Mogambo Khush Hua: Amrish Puri is being offered a <i>modak</i> on this Mumbai wall (Photo: Facebook/Bollywood Art Project)
Mogambo Khush Hua: Amrish Puri is being offered a modak on this Mumbai wall (Photo: Facebook/Bollywood Art Project)

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).

The Chick on a Bamboo Chick: The gorgeous Sharmila Tagore in an unusual avatar&nbsp;painted by Ranjit Dahiya of BAP (Photo: Ranjit Dahiya)&nbsp;
The Chick on a Bamboo Chick: The gorgeous Sharmila Tagore in an unusual avatar painted by Ranjit Dahiya of BAP (Photo: Ranjit Dahiya) 

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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