Party Poster

Really lovely, interesting and warm short film about a group of laundry workers getting together a poster celebrating the festival of Ganesh.

Now, when I say poster, I don’t mean a bit of A4 stuck up in the break room. I mean something the size of a barn door. One guy uses last year’s poster to waterproof one side of his house. These are beasts, man. And in India, posters are a very big deal. Rajesh, the main character in the documentary, says, “Without a poster, you don’t exist!” A poster is engagement with the social, religious, and political life of the community.

It might seem a little ridiculous, viewed from Glasgow, this obsession with getting the biggest poster with the most stuff jammed on it. Especially when it looks like it’s made in MS Paint, and has low-res mobile photos of the folk on it. But the aesthetic does draw you in, as the camera passes rows of them celebrating a politician’s birthday, it does become hypnotic. It reminds me of nothing so much as the way people go on about their Christmas lights over here.

There is a comedy element of watching the guys at the laundry bicker over the layout of the poster, suggesting endless changes as they peer at the latest draft on the mobile phone. Can you darken my sunglasses? Can you make my bindi bigger? Can you turn down the contrast so my hair doesn’t look thin? This year Covid has hit, so they stick an image containing safety advice in the corner too.

This is what I like in a short documentary, a feeling like I got to be somewhere, listening to someone talk about what is important to them. There’s a warm bond of friendship between Rajesh and the other laundry workers, and it felt nice to meet them all. With the medical and financial difficulties Covid is bringing, it’s good to see them still find a way to carry on their part in the life of their community.