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Rare Bollywood Showcards Top the Bill in Toronto

‘A collection of rare vintage Bollywood showcards is taking top billing at one of Toronto’s biggest museums. “Bollywood Cinema Showcards: Indian Film Art from the 1950s to the 1980s” exhibits these evocative artworks that blend Indian film promotion and embellished photography…. The museum became aware of the showcards, which had been collected by a Canadian woman called Angela Hartwick on her travels in India between 2006 and 2010… [ROM curator of South Asian Arts & Culture] Dr. Deepali Dewan was delighted to discover that Ms. Hartwicks cards were real treasures…’

A Rare Collection of Bollywood Cinema Showcards at the ROM

'Winding her way through the narrow laneways of a dusty Bombay bazaar one hot day, Angela Hartwick happened upon a number of Bollywood cinema relics, and saw something many others had obviously missed.  What she found were cinema showcards -- painted photographs made into posters that were used to advertise the Hindi films of yesteryear, which typically would be thrown out once the films disappeared from theatres.  Dr. Deepali Dewan, curator of South Asian Arts and Culture at the Royal Ontario Museum says of the exhibit "it is remarkable that this collection has survived at all..."'

'...[The Hartwick Collection] artifacts generate a pleasure similar to that of peeping pulp-fiction covers — whether you’re looking at design or at plot, there’s a whole lotta drama going on. On a more brainy front, helpful texts hint at the way India’s movie heroes changed as the nation’s circumstances did. One of those circumstances, of course, has been the colonial and post-colonial interplay between Indian and Western cultures, and it’s eye-opening to see stories such as Tarzan and King Kong get Bollywood makeovers, as well as to learn about movie plots more endemic to India, like arranged-marriage conflicts...'

'A walk through a new Royal Ontario Museum exhibition is a walk through India’s cinematic history. 'Bollywood Cinema Showcards: Indian Film Art from the 1950s to 1980s' includes 77 showcards borrowed from Canadian Angela Hartwick’s private collection...'

'Angela Hartwick appears fashionably out of place as she prepares to take the stage at the Royal Ontario Museum. It’s a cool Tuesday evening in June and the Kamloops-born Brigitte Bardot look-alike is taking part in a scholarly discussion of Bollywood visual culture.
Wearing a fitted canary yellow cardigan, faded jeans, cowboy boots and bright turquoise nail polish, the 33-year-old Hartwick looks as though she’s the student of her co-panelists, all professors. Yet, if it weren’t for her, no one would be here and the ROM wouldn’t have its current hit exhibition, 'Bollywood Cinema Showcards: Indian Film Art from the 1950s to the 1980s'...'

'Bollywood Cinema Showcards' is a unique opportunity to see this rare collection of vintage cinematic art, bringing early Bollywood culture and design to life,” said Janet Carding, ROM Director and CEO. “I'm delighted that the ROM is contributing in such as significant way...'

'[One of the] significant showcases revolving around Indian art....‘Bollywood Cinema Showcards: indian Film Art from the 1950s to the 1980s’, is a vivacious visual journey through the history of Hindi movie advertising. The Institute for Contemporary Culture (ICC) at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) presents the North American debut of this show curated by Deepali Dewan. She elaborates, “The idea is to explore the evolution of a specific form of advertising associated with the Hindi commercial cinema...'