In 70s and early 80s wall poster was the only simple means to publicize a movie. Those vibrant posters used to catch the attention of college-going students, street children and some times hungry cattle too! Times have been changed and new developments have been emerged in the field of publicity. Many Telugus know signatures of Gangadhar and Bhaskar, who created cinema posters filled with big images of stars and catchy titles.
To take their movie beyond the boundaries of Telugu land and to reach the huge number of masses, producers are hunting for creative wizards who pin up the epitomes and logos of their products on huge billboards.
Directors like Balachander, Vamsi, Mani Ratnam and Ram Gopal Varma took so much of care on marketing their ideas with innovative concepts. Varieties of software and recent developments in printing technology have redefined the style of publicity.
Let's go through the dynamic works of designer Dhani Aelay, younger brother of one of the top painters of India, Mr. Lakshman Aelay. Dhanunjay (Dhani) is from a village Kadirenigudem near Bhuvanagiri, Nalgonda District. "Brother Lakshman is the inspiration for my sketching and making experiments with colors. I started my career as commercial designer at Tara Advertising for a monthly salary of Rs.350/- After that I continued as a designer of commercial ads with Eenadu group for eight years, where my brother Lakshman used to work as artist. I also completed teacher training in the discipline of drawing", he recalls his acquaintance with publicity designs.
"My brother ventured a new business 'Aelay Design Group' by resigning his job at Eenadu. He started doing some commercial ads and promos for Ram Gopal Varma's movies. Because of heavy workload I joined to assist him. That leads me to specialize in film publicity", he says.
He acclaims that they play a major role in pulling crowds to cinema theatres. Speaking about the best of his designs, other publicity works and graphics he says, "We used to adopt spray compression technique for attaining a good background on the poster. Photos were also developed to fit in the designs. Manual works are replaced by computer-aided designs. If you have the flair of creating something new and innovative, sky is the limit.
Itlu Sravani Subrahmaniam, Badri and Idiot are my favorite works among our designs for 80 plus movies. We design posters and other publicity materials for almost all Poori Jagannath's films. Our design also includes logo and title. We also design CD and Cassette covers for audio-release of the movie. Sometimes, our works starts even before the launching of the movie. We provide new designs every week after the release of movie. However usually the change of posters occurs at an interval of 10 days between 50th day and 100th day of screening".
Now he is making designs for Pokiri, Nandanavanam120 Km, Satyam Shivam Sundaram, Mayajaalam, Seeta Ramudu, and Maya Bazar etc. He bagged Best Publicity award for Rajendra Prasad's family melodrama "Aa Naluguru".
It's been a long journey, from a small employee with a meager salary to the General Secretary of the Association for AP Cine Publicity Artists. He encourages new talents who come up with novel concepts. Let us wish Dhani all the success.