Skip to main content

Firecracker Artwork, Zeenat Aman “atom bombs”

The Sixties belonged to Hindi film heroines, cover girls such as Mala Sinha and Meena Kumari, who smiled demurely from cracker boxes, the very image of the bharatiya nari. In the ’70s, they were replaced by Rekha, Mumtaz, Yogita Bali and popular south Indian actresses. The imagery too changed from the chubby-cheeked kids and goddesses of the ’50s and ’60s. Cracker labels now looked more like film posters. The quality was crude, mostly hand-drawn and the packaging was poor in quality. The ’80s and ’90s brought bikini-clad Westernised heroines to Hindi cinema. Thus, we see Zeenat Aman and Mandakini on cracker boxes of “atom bombs”, pun entirely intended. The “bomb” had clear sexual overtones. One marked distinction remained. The phooljhari packet labels which are mostly used by younger kids still carry images of the mother and child or an angelic girl. Other crackers like rockets and bullet-bombs, which are of fairly high intensity have “sex bomb” images of these popular heroines draped in diaphanous drapery, keeping in mind the youth and its fascination towards sex and violence. In the ’80s, George Lucas’s Star Wars embraced many covers of firecracker boxes.
Big Bang Art, by Siddhartha Tagore, Indian Express (Oct 26, 2008). The insightful details the journey of Indian firecracker box art and the transformation of its cover girls from demure to Atomic.

Image: Woman on left is Jayapradha. Rigth: Zeenat Aman.




Popular posts from this blog

Famous Old Faces of Doordarshan

Some people recall the faces and some people recall the names. Here are images of some of the famous readers and presenters of Doordarshan down the years. If you recognize any of them, leave a comment.
[Update 1: Most of the faces now have names thanks to helpful comments by olio-gallimaufry]
[Update 2: Included image of one of the earliest presenters, Gopal Kaul. Send in generously from personal collection by son, Ashutosh Kaul. Sept, 2010.]
[Major Update 3: Got a tip-off about a documentary about the famous faces of Doordarshan from the makersof“The Golden Trail , DD@50 :Special feature on Golden Jubilee of Doordarshan” from which these caps were taken. I managed to catch the incredible documentary and am adding some more faces/name and part of the docu here. New ones can be found after the image of Narotam Puri. 30th Oct, 2010]

 Pratima Puri. Believed to be the first Doordarshan reader.

Indian Cigarette Vintage Ads

He put a cigarette in his mouth and, as a matter of silent routine, offered one to Gwyn, who said ‘No thanks.”Richard looked at him.”I packed it in.”"You what?”"I stopped. Three days ago. Cold. That’s it. You just make the life choice.”

Richard looked up and inhaled needfully. He gazed at his cigarette. He didn’t really want to smoke it. He wanted to eat it. Almost the only thing that he still liked about Gwyn was that he still smoked…Paradoxically, he no longer wanted to give up smoking: what he wanted to do was take up smoking. Not so much to fill the little gaps between cigarettes with cigarettes (there wouldn’t be time, anyway) or to smoke two cigarettes at once. It was more that he felt the desire to smoke a cigarette even when he was smoking a cigarette. The need was and wasn’t being met…

While it would always be true and fair to say that Richard felt like a cigarette, it would now be doubly true and fair to say it. He felt like a cigarette. And he felt like a cigaret…

Kishore Kumar, Yodel-ay-ee-oooo Songs, A List

*Updated with corrections pointed out by Bart Plantenga, author of some incredible book on Yodeling including Yodel-Ay-Ee-Oooo: The Secret History of Yodeling Around the World.


Kishore Kumar's brother Anoop Kumar, who we basically know for the line 'O manu tera toh hua ab mera kya hoga', used to own lots of Austrian music records. And from these records, Kishore Kumar picked up the art of Yodel singing, an art perfected in bathroom and then introduced by him to the world of Hindi film music. According to his biography 'Kishore Kumar: method in madness‎ ' by Derek Bose, "Kishore was a fan of the Swiss singer Tex Norton [* Tex Morton, an Australian cowboy born in New Zealand who sang  in the gene autry / Jimmie Rodgers style] and the Australian Jimmy Rogers [*Jimmie Rodgers, perhaps the most American and one of the most famous yodelers in the world, famous for his blue yodels] as well."

Although most of these songs by Kishore Kumar are thought to be '…