Last Chance to See Bollywood Cinema Showcards at the ROM

The Year of India in Canada Continues with

Embellished Reality: Indian Painted Photographs

(Toronto, Ontario – September 22, 2010) Bollywood Cinema Showcards: Indian Film Art from the 1950s to 1980s closes to the public on Saturday, October 2, 2011. Presented by The Institute for Contemporary Culture (ICC) at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), Bollywood Cinema Showcards is a visual journey through the history of Bollywood advertising. Curated by Deepali Dewan for the ICC at the ROM in collaboration with the Hartwick Collection, the exhibition is on view in the special exhibitions gallery on Level 3 of the Museum.

About The Exhibition

Bollywood Cinema Showcards embodies the quirky and colourful style of India’s cinematic culture with a display of rare, vintage showcards—colourful hand painted photo collages commissioned to advertise the release of Bollywood films, originally exhibited in display cases outside cinema theatres.

The exhibition features over 120 works, including 77 original showcards from the private collection of Angela Hartwick and a selection of posters, lobby cards and film booklets from the ROM’s permanent collection. The installation will be organized chronologically, tracing the aesthetic and thematic evolution of Bollywood graphic design as seen in its advertising, from the years after India’s independence in 1947 through the liberalization of India’s economic policies in the early 1990s.

Bollywood and Beyond at the ROM

As Bollywood Cinema Showcards comes to a close, visitors can continue to explore the world of Indian visual culture with Embellished Reality: Indian Painted Photographs. This exhibition brings together 75 works from the ROM’s permanent collection, never before shown in public. Produced from the advent of photography in India in 1840, the focus of the exhibition are photographic portraits almost completely covered with paint as a way to enhance the subject. By combining the art of painting with the technique of photography, these artists created a distinctive genre of Indian visual culture. These works are a precursor to Bollywood showcards, as the concept of enhanced photographs and embellished realities complements the fantasy world created by Bollywood cinema. Embellished Reality is on view in the H.H. Levy Gallery, Level 1, until March 2012.

Both exhibitions are accompanied by catalogues, richly illustrated with essays by Deepali Dewan, Rajesh Devraj, Kajri Jain, and Olga Zotova. Catalogues are available in the ROM Museum Store for $24.99 each.

Institute for Contemporary Culture

The Institute for Contemporary Culture is the Royal Ontario Museum's window on contemporary societies around the globe. Playing a vital role within the historical museum, the ICC examines current cultural, social and political issues throughout the modern world in thought-provoking exhibitions of contemporary art, architecture and design that are presented in the Roloff Beny Gallery and other galleries of the Museum. In addition, a roster of public events such as lectures, film series, debates and performances further explore relevant themes addressed in ICC exhibitions, and serves as a catalyst for stimulating public conversations. The ROM's extensive collections of world cultures and natural history through the ages add context, meaning and depth to these engaging discussions of contemporary ideas. More information at:

For more information on Bollywood Cinema Showcards: Indian Film Art form the 1950s to 1980s, visit:

Bollywood Cinema Showcards: Indian Film Art from the 1950s to the 1980s is organized by the Institute for Contemporary Culture (ICC) at the ROM in collaboration with the Hartwick Collection.

Bollywood Cinema Showcards: Indian Film Art from the 1950s to the 1980s and Embellished Reality: Indian Painted Photographs have been made possible through funding provided by the Government of Ontario.

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The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) is an agency of the Government of Ontario. Opened in 1914, the ROM is Canada’s largest museum of natural history and world cultures with collections and galleries showcasing art, archaeology and natural science. For 24-hour information in English and French, please call 416.586.8000 or visit the ROM’s web site at ROM tickets now available online: