Stamping cinema in his style

CREATIVE MIND

Stamping cinema in his style

Special screenings of some of the popular Indian films and a photography exhibition on renowned directors is an expected way of celebrating the completion of 100 years of Indian cinema.

But the ongoing celebration turned a wee more profound when President Pranab Mukherjee released a collection of 50 stamps at the 60th National Film Awards.
Interestingly, depicting myriad emotions on a 2x2.5 cm stamp which Indian films have been portraying on 70 mm screens down the years, cannot have been an easy task for Kamleshwar Singh who has designed those 50 stamps.

“The toughest challenge was to give those stamps a continuity because every film star belongs to a certain era and they have their own aura too. Therefore, to making a combination of ‘era’ and ‘aura’ was not easy,” says Kamleshwar, who wanted to make his stamps look like a pictorial journey of the Indian cinema.

“I wanted to make every stamp look like a film in itself.  So, in a background shaded with water colour I have shown the actor in his/her known particular role or a director with his camera and then just adjacent to it there’s an enlarged photo of that director, actor or a musician,” says Kamleshwar.

However, for the stamp designer a much more difficult task lay ahead. He was asked to make stamps on the Southern Indian film industry too which included Kannada, Tamil and Telegu cinema.

“It was difficult but I got reference material from people who were quite aware of the history of the South Indian film history and personalities who dese­r­v­ed to be on stamps. Meanwhile, my research work too helped me get a better understanding of the film personalities,” says Kamleshwar, giving credit to the other members of his team in the postal department who helped him out.

After the research was over, Kamleshwar took a mere 10 days to prepare a colourful account of Indian cinema. This was way different from when he had started his career with the department in 2000. A student of Delhi College of Fine Arts, Kamleshwar entered the profession after winning a competition on stamp designing. “I had to make a stamp on the Indian Police Service (IPS).

But I did not want to depict them in a Khakhi uniform. So, I made some smart faces saluting the Indian flag. That stamp got me the first prize,” recalls Kamleshwar.
Does he have a personal favourite from among the 200 odd stamps that he has designed so far?

He remembers the first time he was asked to make a stamp on the India-Japan diplomatic ties. “I initially made a stamp depicting judo. But my senior felt that the stamp was reflecting only the fight and nothing more. So, I then came up with Kathakali representing India and Kabuki representing Japan – the two distinctive dance forms of each nation.”

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