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Not only am I very fortunate to work in an office where my co-workers are some of the best people around, but they kindly tolerate my peculiar tastes in films, music, and, well, most everything. I am also very fortunate to have a great work space. My cubicle is unusually roomy and is placed up against two full walls which gives me ample opportunity to celebrate my Bollywood love (and it hasn’t escaped my notice that my work space is as far away from the other employees as possible. Whether this has anything to do with my constant playing of filmi music and Arabic pop songs at my desk, I can’t say.)
So, let me give you a little tour of the area I work in, shall I?
To the right of where I sit hangs a Bollywood calendar so that I can keep track of the days.
Each year I search out a calendar devoted to Hindi films. My 2012 calendar is made up of colorful portrait photos of yesteryear actresses like Nirupa Roy and Shyama, although several of the actresses in this calendar are, unfortunately, not identified. This calendar was a nice change from my previous calendars filled with images of Bollywood posters. Too bad this styhle calendar is not available for 2013.
To the left of my desk is a prized, original 20 x 30 poster from the 1946 Fearless Nadia/John Cawas stunt film FLYING PRINCE. I actually have two copies of this poster. This one was somewhat damaged so I decided I might as well stick it in a frame and put it on display for all to see.
I have an overflowing collection of old Hindi film posters sitting at home, boxed up, but these three were among my favorites and so I had to put them on display. They make me smile and I sure enjoy looking at them as I work away at my desk doing the things that devoted government workers do (no cracks, now!).
As my work area can be viewed by the public, on the rare occasions that anyone trots up to our second floor office, I tried hard to find posters that was suitable for work…no sexiness, no overt violence, said my boss…the two things film posters seem usually to be full of… but this cute 20 x 30 poster from the Shammi Kapoor film DIL TERA DEEWANA (1962) fit the bill perfectly. With Mala Sinha’s face prominently displayed and Shammi holding a big red “dil,” it is absolutely “office friendly.” Plus you have the added fun of Mehmood and Shubha Khote, the film’s comedy relief pair, also pictured on it.
This 20 x 30 SHEESH MAHAL (1950) is a melodramatic winner. I love the “face cut-outs” of the stars and having Pran featured in the bottom corner with his famous smirk.
Lastly is the piece de resistance, a 30 x 40 of one of my all time favorite films, Homi Wadia’s colorful action film REPORTER RAJU!
This was one of the first Bollywood posters I ever purchased. I had found a company on the internet selling vintage Hindi film posters for what seemed, at the time, to be a fairly reasonable price (now I realize they were quite overpriced!). They had this poster listed as being in mint condition, so I snapped it up.
Evidently “mint” means different things to different people. To most of the movie poster collecting world a mint condition poster would be one that was never used and has no damage what-so-ever. Now, I am not that particular about condition, just as long as my posters can display well. But, this REPORTER RAJU posters was full of rips, tears, holes, and was torn in two and with the top third of the poster barely attached to the middle third. Whatever. I did contact the company (which was located in the US mid-west) and asked them why they advertised it as mint. The person replying did argue and insisted that “mint” was the correct description for this poster, despite the great amount of damage. Hmmm. Lesson learned.
I wish I could remember the name of the company so that you could all beware of them. Since then I have found it best to deal with sellers in India. The prices are usually very reasonable and I have never had any problem with conditions being that awful. Of course, these Indian sellers also don’t claim to be selling “mint” posters…although I have lucked out and found that some are indeed “near mint.”
A year later I was able to obtain a very good condition copy of this same poster, as well as the 20 x 30 version, which is slightly different. All three at a much more lower price and from a dealer in India. Still, I had this mess of a poster on my hands that I couldn’t bear to throw out, so I taped it together as best I could and stuck it in this frame. You can hardly tell it is in several pieces. At least from several paces back.
Well, thanks for joining me on this little tour. Perhaps it will give you some ideas for your own cubicle or office! Don’t forget to also place a few issues of Filmfare or Stardust magazine in the waiting area and try to talk your boss into switching the elevator muzak to Kishore Kumar / Lata Mangeshkar duets. It will surely add to the ambiance of any office.