Canvassing for Bollywood: Hand-painted film posters starring yours truly

Canvassing for Bollywood: Hand-painted film posters starring yours truly

These old Bollywood poster painters can put you among a film's cast -- all they need is a photograph and your say-so

You may not land a Bollywood role in Mumbai, but you can come close. Two creative enterprises, Limona Studio and Indian Hippy, promise to cast you in an Indian film of your choice, even if just on paper. Send in your photograph along with the movie of your choice, and they’ll get original, old school Bollywood poster painters to draw you into the movie, by hand, from scratch. Pure oil on canvas, no garish Photoshop cheating. 

When digital print killed hand-drawn Bollywood art in the 1990s, scores of banner painters lost their livelihood. By putting them on the job of drawing you as a film star, these two studios are attempting to preserve a dying Indian art.

Limona Studio: Bollywood, Je t’aime

To the rescue are two 38-year-old French women, Sophie Legoubin-Caupeil and Sarah Loosdregt-Charlet, who customize personalized Bollywood posters at Limona Studio. When the duo first laid their eyes on intricate movie poster art on one of their frequent trips to Mumbai, they immediately felt the need to revive it. "In 2004 we visited Mumbai’s Alfred Talkies, the last remaining cinema to house a painting studio, and met three artists who we began to work with on several projects," remembers Loosdregt-Charlet.

The idea became big, not just in France, but all over the world. Today, their main orders come from Switzerland, England and the United States. "Those interested usually share a special bond with India. We recently did a wedding card for a Philadelphia-based Indian man marrying an American woman," says Loosdregt-Charlet. What Bollywood decade is most in demand? "The 1970s and 1980s; the film "Meera" seems to have the most fans. It’s the larger-than-life Bollywood, complete with maharajas and moustachioed villains, saris and guns, that people want."

Price on request. To order email Limona Studio at


Indian Hippy: Be Dilip Kumar or Madhubala

A newer entrant on the scene is Indian Hippy, a three-month old business enterprise started by Hinesh Jethwani. Besides classics, these guys can also pencil you (your partner, your goldfish and your grandmother) into contemporary flicks like "My Name is Khan". And the likeness, you’ll find, is uncanny.

While Indian Hippy can deliver a canvas (sizes start at 12 x 16 inches) anywhere in the world, in as quickly as a week (turnaround time depends on the detailing involved), they hope that recipients realise how challenging the task is. "After mapping your face into numerous cells, the artist will painstakingly draw you in, while continuously looking in three different directions -- at your photograph, the film poster and his canvas," explains Jethwani.

Ensuring the art is also functional, Indian Hippy can paint a Bollywood poster starring you on collapsible wooden chairs and clutch bags. Also available, blockbuster belts. Looks like we have a cult fashion super hit! 

Prices start at Rs 5,000. To order call Indian Hippy on +91 8080822022 or go online at the link above.

Kanika and Mansi are the co-founders of Brown Paper Bag, a Mumbai lifestyle website.

Read more about Kanika Parab and Mansi Poddar