Tamil Nadu

‘Poster boys’ struggle to make ends meet

Those pasting cinema posters in Vellore have been struggling without proper income during the lockdown. Photo: C. Venkatachalapathy  

For the past 25 years G. Subramani, 41, a physically-challenged person has been earning a living by pasting cinema posters for theatres on walls across Vellore. However, since the COVID-19 lockdown began he has been struggling to make ends meet.

“I used to earn ₹30,000 per month by pasting cinema wall posters at 30 spots in Vellore town. Now I depend on theatre owners for groceries. They have been helping me till date,” said Mr. Subramani, who lost his right hand in an accident during his youth.

Like Mr. Subramani, there are close to 15 cinema poster workers in Vellore. Among them is Prakash, 52, who has been pasting posters since the age of 17. “We paste single,double spread, six and nine sheets posters. We used to collect the posters, sent from Chennai, from the bus stand and then carry it to different spots and paste them. Now we are jobless,” says Mr. Prakash.

People like him have started pasting obituary posters to earn some money. “We don't get the same remuneration that we get for pasting cinema posters. We are hearing that theatres will be opened soon and hope things will improve after that,” said Mr. Subramani.

P. Anandan, 63, a poster contractor in Chennai, whose family has been in the business for the past 70 years said that there are approximately 1,500 poster boys, in the age group of 15 to 60 years in the city. “They are affected due to lack of income. Pasting one bit of cinema poster fetches the worker ₹4,” he said.

After the lockdown relaxations were announced, orders for obituary posters and some political posters started coming in. “The main problem is that there is no union for the poster boys. Hence there is no one to make their voice heard,” he added.

Despite the temporary setback, the poster boys are sure that the practice of pasting posters will stay for a long time. “Wall posters were used to publicise a movie that was released on OTT platforms. So it will be an integral part of cinema, real estate and politics,” said Mr. Subramani.

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2022 11:16:29 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/poster-boys-struggle-to-make-ends-meet/article32472624.ece

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