Hand painted movie banners from Bangladesh
Bangla movies have always been popular and going to the cinema was until recently, one of the most popular forms of entertainment. High drama, plenty of song and dance and rags to riches stories were amongst the favourites and film stars were idolized. The advent of video has destroyed the industry and many cinema halls are empty and being converted into shopping malls. But people still remember the oldies and the film stars of old are still popular. Some have successfully entered politics.
These posters have been commissioned by photographer Shahidul Alam for a project where he will be taking portraits of ageing film stars using banners of films they were famous for, as the backdrops.
The painter Sitesh Kumar Sur was born in 8 April 1963 at Shakhari Bazar, located in the old part of Dhaka city. He studied up to class five. Shakhari Bazar had a high Hindu population and was particularly dangerous to live in during the liberation war. After liberation he started working at Shilpi Art Publicity doing odd errands where he learnt to paint. In 1985 he started his own painting business in a partnership named Maya Art Publicity eventually starting his own business in 1994-95 as Aka Art Publicity, also located at Shakhari Bazar. The business was running well, however the advent of large format digital printing (about seven years ago) ruined the business and the practice of hand painting has disappeared.
Sitesh started other small businesses (fast food) alongside his painting business. He still loves hand painting and takes on special assignments if a client comes up with an order. It takes several days for him and his team to complete a movie banner, but knows that this art will not survive. He is married and has three daughters.
These 12′ x 8′ banners were commissioned by me, for use as a backdrop for a portrait series I am doing on the film stars