Why these retro movie posters with a twist will make you watch these classics again

Bharanidharan Natarajan started Pada Cassette during the lockdown last year as a way to evoke childhood nostalgia. We check out his funky movie posters
Some of the posters created by Bharanidharan and his team | Pics: Pada Cassette
Some of the posters created by Bharanidharan and his team | Pics: Pada Cassette

Movie posters today are almost like a form of digital art, steeped in originality. But according to this writer, nothing can beat the colourful and vibrant posters of the 70s and 80s that just made you want to watch the movie, as you passed it on the street. Some of these posters were so iconic that they still adorn the walls of many people's houses. Now, imagine if these posters were around in the present. How would our current actors and their films be immortalised in them? While we can only imagine it, Bharanidharan Natarajan and his team at Pada Cassette have managed to make it a reality. They are creating retro posters of recent films, featuring some of Tamil cinema's most famous faces.

Like many initiatives, Pada Cassette too was born out of the 2020 lockdown. Bharanidharan and his friends had just cleared their final year of engineering and wanted to do something with movies. "My friends and I have always been passionate about movies. During the lockdown last year, all of us were stuck at home, in different parts of Tamil Nadu, and we wanted to do something together to while away the time," explains Bharanidharan. Initially, they decided to review Tamil movies, "But there were so many review pages on Instagram," he recalls, "We wanted to stand out and do something unique." That is when they thought of recreating the latest movie posters, but retro style. 

Bharanidharan Natarajan

Bharanidharan says that the retro posters evoked a sense of nostalgia for him and his friends. "During the lockdown, people needed something that they could relate to, something they grew up with, to keep that sanity. As a child, we wouldn't go to movie theatres often. Most of the films that I had watched growing up had been those that aired on television — these were the commercial films. That is why we decided to make posters of commercial cinema post the 2000s," explains Bharanidharan.

With some experience in graphic design, Bharanidharan began working on Adobe Photoshop to make these posters. Later, he decided to onboard a few more people who were also passionate about cinema like him and who knew how to make posters. He posted on social media and several people responded. Currently, eight people work on Pada Cassette's posters during their free time. "After a while, most of my friends weren't very actively involved," explains Bharanidharan, even before we could ask.   

VHS tape covers

It is not just posters that Bharanidharan and his team are making though. They also create VHS tape covers, reimagining the latest movies like those from the bygone era. There are tape covers of OK KanmaniVada ChennaiKabali and even Bollywood films like Guru and Dil Se. Bharanidharan has managed to create around 50 posters over the last year. Some of these also include reimagining famous actors in iconic Hollywood roles like James Bond or Rambo — there's a poster of Rajinikanth as Rambo and Kamal Haasan as James Bond on Pada Cassette's page too!

Eventually, Bharanidharan hopes to transform it into a publicity design company that would help movies create the right kind of posters for the perfect publicity. "We are also thinking of merchandising. I want to get some of these posters printed and set up an online marketplace for them but that's still in the works," states Bharanidharan.

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