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Bulletproof Anand's hand-painted poster revives memories of 1970s cinema

Starring Jaaved Jaaferi, Sanjay Mishra and Anshuman Jha, the film will have its world premiere at the 12th Indian Film Festival of Melbourne.

Roushni Sarkar

The hand-painted poster for Alok Sharma’s short film Bulletproof Anand was shared by Jaaved Jaaferi on Twitter today.

Starring Sanjay Mishra, Anshuman Jha and Jaaferi, the short will have its world premiere at the 12th Indian Film Festival of Melbourne in Australia, slated to be held from 12–21 August in cinema halls and from 15–30 August online.

Painted by veteran book cover artist Shelle Mustajab, the poster, with its vintage look, evokes memories of the hand-painted film posters of the 1970s. The bright colours, the fonts used and the poses struck by the artistes in the poster create a sense of anticipation for an experience reminiscent of the action-packed commercial entertainers of yore.

Conceived as a comical homage to the Hindi gangster films of the 1990s, Bulletproof Anand also pays tribute to martial arts legend Bruce Lee and Rajesh Khanna’s famous movie character Anand from the eponymously titled 1971 Hrishikesh Mukherjee film. In the film, Jaaferi will be seen as the titular gangster while Jha and Mishra will be seen in the avatar of North Indian goons, inspired by Lee.

Jaaferi’s dramatic posture on the poster as well as the traits of Anand in his gangster avatar hint that he will deliver a full-fledged entertaining experience.

About choosing the rare look for the poster, the director said, “I was pretty sure I wanted the poster of this short to be hand-painted, as a homage to the Hindi crime novels of the 1970s. India’s very own Robert E McGinnis, Shelle Mustajab was the artist who painted these novel covers for over three decades — from Surendra Mohan Pathak to Ved Prakash Sharma, you name it.”

Alok Sharma travelled all the way to Mustajab’s residence in Amroha, Uttar Pradesh, to persuade him to come out of retirement to create the poster for the film. Delighted that the master had agreed, the director said, “I hope this brings back the trend of hand-painted posters, an art long forgotten.”

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Indian Film Festival of Melbourne Poster review