Across South Asian cities, it’s common to see posters celebrating religious festivals and advertising political events that feature colourful, Photoshopped collages of public figures. These eye-catching banners function as publicity tools, signifying a level of local social status. However, what was once a demonstration of power employed mainly by elites has recently become more democratised, accessible to anyone with a smartphone, a little bit of money and the ambition to make it happen.
The short documentary Party Poster follows a group of laundrymen in the suburb of Bandra in Mumbai as they design and hang up a poster to celebrate the Ganeshotsav Hindu festival. With each picture and face placement endlessly fussed over, the group hopes the final product might elevate them politically – or at least garner plenty of Likes and nice comments on Facebook. Filmed in 2020 amid India’s COVID-19 outbreak, the Mumbai-based director Rishi Chandna’s slice-of-life documentary offers a wry commentary at the intersection of religion, class, politics and self-image in the digital age.
Director: Rishi Chandna
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