Akshar Pathak is a poineer in minimal bollywood poster design. He talks to sean sequira about his inspiration
The concept of minimalism doesn’t have a huge following because of the over-the-top style that we are used to seeing. We are constantly drilled with the bigger-is-better ideology, but Akshar Pathak chooses to go against the tide. He started a project called Minimal Bollywood Posters and made posters for popular Bollywood movies by stripping them down to their essential elements. We chatted with him to find out how he started this project which has caught wind on social networking websites, and how he goes about making these interesting works of art.
Why does minimalism appeal to you as an art form?
Minimalism is an extension of simplicity. If used as a tool, not only do you manage to extract something from all its complex settings, you also get rid of everything unnecessary that usually comes along. All Bollywood posters are action-packed with photo-manipulated images. There’s a heroine providing some mystique and sensuality along with the hero looking tough. What I did was add a minimalistic twist to these posters. The procedure begins with stripping the object down to its bare essentials, and then a handful of colours, shapes and positive/negative space convey the basic idea around which the movie was originally made. Nothing but the essential; going against the idea that busier is better.
Which was the first poster you created?
The first poster I created was for Agneepath (2012).
How do you go about creating your posters?
The movies I pick for my posters are based on the ideas and suggestions I receive from people and what they’re eager to see next. I take the most significant idea, concept, or memory from the movie at first. Every illustration depicted is a visual relation that I shared and experienced while watching that particular movie. Some examples from the posters are just a simple glass of orange juice and a carom board for Munnabhai MBBS, or an old rustic telephone for Hera Pheri.
In my viewpoint, a poster needs a clearly defined purpose to eliminate any confusion from the start by having a single, strong focal point. And for the world to see, it’s fresh, clutter-breaking and ahead of its time. Minimal Bollywood Posters was not created with the intention of a business venture. Minimalism is an art in itself and when my expression of minimalism collected so many likeminded people who could appreciate the same as well as contribute their work, there was no looking back. The posters will continue to be designed with each new suggestion that I can manage to execute with perfection or whatever comes close until I find other genres to espouse it with. To create my posters, I mainly use the Adobe programmes Photoshop and Illustrator.
Was there any particular poster you found challenging to design?
All of them are challenging in a way.
Apart from Minimal Bollywood Posters, are there any other projects you plan to work on?
I spent most of last year making Minimal Bollywood Posters. Almost all the movies are done and the page has about 500 posters now. That got a bit boring though. So I started making conceptual posters out of the tweets I read on my Twitter timeline every day.
Apart from your art, where else do you practice minimalism?
If it counts, I’m quite an introvert in real life.
What kind of future do you see if world politics started focusing on minimalism?
I don’t see that happening. Ever!
If a minimalistic poster was made for your life, what element would it focus on?
Just a dark room, with the only source of light being my laptop.
Favourite poster you Designed
An artist you admire
First time a newspaper covered my work (The Sunday Guardian)
What poster would you give the following personalities?
Lady Gaga: Maybe a poster with only a meat dress.
Sunny Leone: A Windows pop up box with the option of ‘Show hidden files and folders’ being checked.
Volume 2 Issue 9