(Un)wanted Posters: Upcoming Releases Unleash Social Media Backlash

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Posted on October 27th, 2009 in News

It would seem that some of the upcoming releases are creating waves in ways they might not have intended or expected. Posters for the films ended up pasted over the paintings of the most recent incarnation of The Wall Project in Mumbai.

The Wall Project is an experiment in public art — its mission is to create awareness about public spaces by finding blank walls, asking permission from owners to paint on them, and then creating vibrant and colourful works of art drawing on a variety of inspirations.

Imagine the surprise of Project supporters when, within 24 hours of the completion of one of the most recent additions to The Wall Project, the artists discovered their paintings had been plastered over with posters for many of the upcoming film releases, including London Dreams and Aladin.

The aims of The Wall Project may not be political, but that doesn’t mean the community involved wasn’t willing to defend their art. The news popped up on the project’s Facebook page, and supporters then began blogging about it, posting images of the offending movie posters on the newly painted walls. They planned a poster removal event to try to fix their paintings. They contemplated lodging a formal complaint. They discussed the validity and efficacy of boycotts of the films that had postered over their art. And then? They took the news to Twitter and continued discussing it there, too, in 140-character-long tweets. They targeted their tweets at stars and personalities they knew were active on Twitter.

Aladin star Riteish Deshmukh was amongst the first to respond, deeming the postering “insensitive and incorrect”. He requested the location of the wall in question, and offered to look into the incident. Director Rohan Sippy (Bluffmaster) sent him the locations. This was followed swiftly by tweets from Aladin director Sujoy Ghosh who added his apologies to those of Riteish Deshmukh, along with a promise to have the posters removed. Ghosh stated his belief that wall posters should only be placed in authorized spots and vowed, “Never again a wall poster. Promise.”

True to his word, director Ghosh tweeted later in the day: “I am told that Aladin posters have been removed from the wall. Let me know if otherwise… heads will roll.”

In another gesture of support, composer Vishal Dadlani offered to help repaint the walls, and invited other members of the Aladin team to join him “Game on!” replied Ghosh, and Riteish Deshmukh immediately agreed to join in as well.

Supporters of The Wall Project, generally happy at the swift and supportive response, are still debating a boycott of all the films involved in the postering incident, as well as other actions to ensure that such incidents do not happen again.

Kuch Toh Bolo!

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