A stroll down the older quarters of Bandra, Mumbai will open a world of nostalgia for cinephiles. Painted in brilliant colors and really retro kinds are murals of outdated Hindi movies and the celebrities that inhabit the cineverse. From the sleepy lanes of Chapel Road and Waroda Road to the extra in style Bandstand and Sea Link, the murals have left an indelible mark on the cityscape. So who’s the artist creating these time capsules? Meet Ranjit Dahiya, a self-confessed movie buff who moved to Mumbai in 2009 for work. He paints these murals beneath his artwork collective, Bollywood Art Project.
His newest providing is a mural of late actor Rishi Kapoor, which took him six days to full. He unveiled it on his social media on September 4, the actor’s birthday. “It was my tribute to him and I wanted to celebrate it in my own style,” says the NID, Ahmedabad graduate.
A mural takes about 10-14 days to paint, and volunteers additionally pitch in to assist. “We take permissions from the residents to use their walls and once we have painted them, it automatically becomes a landmark,” he says. He feels comfortable when folks come and take selfies in entrance of the murals. “When I painted Amitabh Bachchan’s mural, he tweeted about it, saying something like Deewar pe kisi ne Deewar banaa di,” he says. The authentic 2017 tweet stated: “They build a ‘DEEWAR’ on a deewar. In Bandra, Mumbai.”
His love for the flicks started as a baby who grew up on a regular weight-reduction plan of VCR tapes. “It is a Bollywood city and my mission is to immortalise it,” says the 42-year outdated artist who works as a freelance graphic designer and in addition paints on commissions. The cash he makes from these assignments is spent on sourcing supplies for these murals.
The pandemic has affected his work, as he isn’t getting as many freelance assignments, so funds are scarce. But this hasn’t deterred him from planning his subsequent murals. “We do wear masks and maintain distance while painting, but I still go and paint. I want to paint so much more, from legends to forgotten celebrities,” he concludes.
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