Street artist Ranjit Dahiya tells Runa Ashish how he combined a love of art and Bollywood into a mission to celebrate Mumbai as the home of Indian cinema by creating murals based on classic films and stars.
He aims to transform the walls in Mumbai into a living memorial to Bollywood. Meet Ranjit Dahiya, Mumbai-based street artist who has taken upon himself to transform dull houses into lively tribute to Hindi films and stars. It all started with Dahiya, who moved to Mumbai from a small village in Haryana’s Sonipat district to work as a user-interface designer for a website and desperately wanted an outlet for his creativity. So he launched the Bollywood Art Project (BAP) along with co-founder Tony Peter to transform the drab walls of city buildings with street art set in the tone of the hand-painted poster.
The timing could not have been better as 2013 marked 100 years of Bollywood. Ask him the reason for choosing to paint film stars and not industrialists, or cricketers, Dahiya explains, “We were celebrating 100 years of cinema in our country in 2013 and nothing connects us all like films. It’s a passion with all Indians so I thought what else could be a better subject to paint on Mumbai walls than Bollywood films.” Dahiya says not only India, our films and actors are very popular abroad also. He says, “Once I was invited to make a Bollywood mural in Paris, so I made one with Amitabh Bachchan. For the first time, I realised Bollywood is such a big thing there. People are crazy about our films.
This mural was inspired by the film Sarkar Raj and I don’t have to tell you the importance of Amitabh Bachchan in our film industry. He has such a huge fan following outside our country as well.” A big fan of Mr Bachchan, Dahiya says, “I met him in Paris and he shook my hand and that time was like a dream come true for me.” Once he realised the demand for filmy murals and the kind of appreciation he had received in Paris, he thought to paint reel Bollywood in real Bollywood.
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Feb - April 2018