The initial publicity salvo for Meghna Gulzar’s Talvar, based on the Aarushi Talwar murder case, is a reminder of how, when it wants to, Bollywood can come up with evocative, arresting posters. The first depicts Lady Justice, with her customary sword and blindfold, against a backdrop of stormy skies; look closely, and you’ll see the words “double murder" scrawled in a corner. Then second is the same, but with Irrfan Khan’s face large in the background. The third—and, to my mind, the best—has Irrfan Khan’s face superimposed over a newspaper story about the murder case. It’s a good example of the descriptive film poster—the details of the story, the colour scheme gives us a fair idea what Talvar might be like.

On the other end of the spectrum from Talvar is the ‘teaser poster’ for Dil Dhadakne Do, which has the film’s six leads lounging in deck chairs turned away from the camera, on what appears to be a cruise ship. A version with the stars facing the camera soon followed, but the earlier poster captured the film’s super-rich cool better.

This poster for Chaitanya Tamhane’s Court, designed by Nishikant Palande, takes a magical realist approach to what is a straight-ahead realist film. A sketch of one of the film’s protagonists, Narayan Kamble, is in a courtroom, the lower half of his body in a manhole. Kamble brings together these two worlds in the film, and it’s fitting that the poster—executed in contrasting shades of blue and brown—should hint at this.

All the posters for Hunterrr play up its branding as ‘adult comedy’. The raciest was the one where Gulshan Devaiah’s head is shown as literally exploding with sex— you’d think bananas were suggestive, but apples?

“If you see, everything is slightly towards a boy’s own adventure," Dibakar Banerjee mentions in a discussion up on YouTube about his film Detective Byomkesh Bakshy! This is reflected in the poster’s larger than life, generic quality—a giant Bakshy stepping over Howrah Bridge, fighter planes in the skies. It’s a clever variant on the sort of covers early 20th century pulp adventure books for young readers used to have.

This pop art poster for Aditya Vikram Sengupta’s dialogue-less Labour of Love shows the film’s two characters gazing at each other, bathed in blue against a red background. Though in a completely different style, it’s as eye-catching as the film’s visuals would prove to be.

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