Bollywood’s immortal ‘bad girls’ revisited in exhibition


Remember Sridevi in a tight leather suit, carrying a hunter in her hand in “Himmatwala”? Or the fearless actress and stunt woman Nadia in “Hunterwali”? An exhibition of film memorabilia in the capital is celebrating the immortal era of these screen seductresses, vamps and anti-heroines.

Around 30 posters of several Bollywood films that go back to 1945 are mounted in an exhibition, “The Other Woman”, at Khoj Studios that was launched Thursday. The posters are from the personal collection of Priya Paul, chairperson of Apeejay Surrendra Park Hotels, who is an ardent art collector and design aficionado.

“I used to collect oleographs from calenders and advertising material. When I saw these posters I realised how fragile they were and my first instinct was to salvage them,” Paul told IANS.

“While expanding my collection, I looked for images with strong graphic quality that juxtaposed tradition with modernity,” she added.

Paul has been collecting these posters for over two decades from various dealers spread across the length and breath of India. Calling it “antique hunting” she admitted it never crossed her mind that she would collect more than 300 posters in the process.

One look at the exhibition would take lovers of pulp fiction down memory lane, with posters from some forgettable films like “Masterji”, “Geeta Mera Naam” and “Daku Rani Himmatwali” making the cut.

But what links these films with other popular movies like “Yudh” and “Laila Majnu” are women who have played the roles of vamp and seductresses in the movies, taken to guns and hunters and subdued their sexuality or overplayed it.

Along with the exhibition, a few horror films from Pakistan will also be screened.

The exhibition ends Dec 8.

Published in The Indian Sun (Indian magazine in Australia)

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