Mumbai’s propensity for flex banners is an inextricable element of its overall ugliness. Rishi Chandna’s Party Poster invites us to see the people who commission these eyesores in a new light.
The short film is being streamed on New York Times OP DOCS YouTube channel. Chandna has previously made the delightful Tungrus, about a Mumbai family with a pet rooster.
Party Poster was filmed in Mumbai’s Bandra neighbourhood in 2020. The conditions created by the coronavirus pandemic find their way into posters being designed for that year’s Ganpati festival by a group of ambitious and civic-minded laundrymen.
Photo editing software comes to the aid of the banner makers. By altering the image size of the people appearing on the posters, the designers are able to cram in public safety messages about Covid-19. The aspiration behind these posters – to get noticed and to even enter politics some day – co-exists with a typically Mumbai “kindly adjust” hustle.