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April 29, 2016

Final Cut: Chiraag Bhakta, San Francisco

by Anusha Narayanan

This article is the sixth in a series of articles featuring movie posters from across India, released and unreleased works too, for their merit. Keep watching this series for more.

Ashim Ahluwalia’s National Award-winning film Miss Lovely is as atypical as it is acclaimed. The story revolves around the Indian C-Grade (pornographic and horror) film industry and follows the journey of the Duggal Brothers, and their rise and fall from fame. The film itself is daring in its matter-of-factness, rather than being “filmy”.

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Chiraag Bhakta, a graphic designer based in San Francisco, designed the main poster for Miss Lovely. Chiraag was raised in an independent motel on a New Jersey freeway by immigrant parents from India and studied Graphic Design at the Hartford Art School in Connecticut.

The design of this poster was actually a quick turnaround, which took all of 10 days. “Ashim got word that Miss Lovely got into Cannes, which I think caught him by surprise since the film wasn’t even fully completed. He reached out and asked if I was free to create a poster for the film; I was fully on-board,” said Chiraag.

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Ashim and Chiraag have known each other for more than 10 years and also share similar artistic inclinations. Their idea was to have a central iconic image, for which, they decided to use one from the 1976 film Nehle pe Dehla, a film they both loved.

“Since Miss Lovely is based around the C-grade film industry, it was actually really appropriate to lift an image, especially that image [from Nehle pe Dehla] and make it our own in a way, since most posters from that genre do the same. It was a tribute in a way as well,” explains Chiraag. There is also a Japanese version, which was done for the Japan release of the film.

A version of this article was published in Kyoorius 27.

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