The Nomad Cafe is an initiative by two friends, Aman & Kishan, based in Ahmedabad. It is an attempt to capture the essence of design through illustrations & spatial experiences inspired by stories of travel & driven by common interests in abstract visualizations, visual storytelling, experimental films and Jazz. Their artwork tries to weave stories through various media, giving shape to their imagination and perception of various concepts and realities. Each poster is built around a story in such a way that the design is not a mere representation of the object, but rather an interpretation of it.
They have also designed around 55 film posters for various Indian Independent films mostly belonging to the parallel or experimental cinema genre (like Om Dar B Dar, Ankhon dekhi, Kothanodi, Court, Ashwatthama, City of Photos, Chauthi Koot, Ajji, Up down and sideways, Goonga Pehelwan, and many more) and have screened those films in the presence of the respective directors in various spaces in Ahmedabad. The film club is called “The Nomad Cafe Film Club” and is an initiative towards exploring cinema and art of various genres & languages. It is a travelling club, and hence the name.
Film screenings are done in Ahmedabad every alternate Saturday.
Their movies have been screened in havelis, houses, schools, monuments, cafes, wildlife parks, gardens and offices. These spaces are selected consciously in order to add an experiential aspect to the film screenings.
Along with that, various street musicians and flute players are also invited to perform at their events.
In an effort to juxtapose the worlds of Independent Cinema, Architecture and Music, they have also collaborated with different queer organizations and other spaces to generate discussions.
After completing around 55 different film screenings and discussions, they have formed sort of an open community of people who meet up and share ideas and discuss things related to identity, gender, culture, feminism, sexuality, art and design.
Here are a few of the film posters designed by them :
This poster was designed for Om Dar B Dar, which is a cult film that supersedes all boundaries of what we call “Alternative” in the world of cinema. Charting the territory between modernism and postmodernism, the film takes you on a ride through the life of Om during his young, carefree days and its surreal illusions. The film seems like a surreal montage of disconnected images juxtaposed in a manner so as to leave it to the viewer to interpret it in his or her own way. The poster tries to achieve that in some way.
There is a large face of Om, lost in an imaginary city (possibly Ajmer) and the different peculiar elements in the film that are associated with him and the context of the film. It’s an avant-garde visual language that borders on absurdity.
Court breaks all notions of a courtroom drama and gives us an extremely insipid gaze into the world of the lawmakers. The poster exaggerates the repetition and slowness that one feels while watching the film. It takes one character and makes him/her revolve around one central element, which is the “witness box”. It signifies the movements around this element that are recurring and monotonous, like still frames captured in time. The colours used in the poster are also muted to exaggerate the monotony.
A film on dancer Bhanumati Rao (which was shot over a period of six years) - Oh that’s Bhanu is
stylistically treated in a very raw manner. Bhanu is a woman full of joy and mischief, and the film unfolds her layers as a person and not just as a dancer. It is far from a typical
biographical documentary and actually delves into the relationship between the filmmaker and
the one being filmed.
In the poster, the central character is the protagonist of the film. However, the
eyes with its various gazes not only show the eye movements of the kathakali dancer (who is the protagonist), but also capture the cinematic dance that occurs between the filmmaker and the character. This makes the film and the poster as much about the filmmaker as about the character.
A film that has been described by critics as “a beautiful film about a wise old fool”, Ankhon Dekhi with all its hidden layers delves into the mind of Bauji and explores the nuances of a lost soul. In the process, it raises complex questions that many could relate to.
Bauji is in constant search for the absolute truth and decides that he would believe only what he sees with his naked eye. The other characters, however, react to his quest in various ways. The poster tries to capture the emotions of the protagonist and the elements that he is surrounded by, through a setting that is comfortable, yet unsettling.
The trickiest part with the poster is that it could very well have been a mirror and so, if you were to imagine yourself looking at the mirror in the poster, it could actually carry your reflection. In capturing the existential angst of the film, the poster makes you the protagonist.
Teen aur aadha, a film that is shot in only three long takes, tells three stories with
different characters within the same spatial enclosure. The building where the film is shot becomes the protagonist around which the rest of the narrative revolves. It changes from being a brothel, a school and a home for an aged couple.
The three stories are shot in the same space, but they capture different moods depending on what they stand for. The mood of every space is captured through specific colours in the poster. This hand-sketched poster is an imaginary cross-section of the building and has elements
which have been picked up from the stories themselves. It underscores the fixed nature of the building and the temporality of the activities it has been involved in. A quote from the film stands thus - “These walls have seen so much more than we have. They are but the same.”
It is a bold film based on the eerie short stories written by Lakshminath Bezbaroa, that Assamese children have grown up listening to. The film is deeply rooted in the fabric and landscape of Assam and has several elements that become symbols of representation for the various aspects that the director tries to highlight. The poster is a creative amalgamation of the
various elements of gore and fear depicted in the four short stories.
If you enjoyed reading this article, we suggest you also read :