Figuring Out What Makes Bollywood Bollywood

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An interesting story over at one+one=thr33 about a project they had to put together for the Immigration Museum in Melbourne, Australia. Their task? To put together an exhibition called Bollywood Dreams. They ran into a bit of a hurdle when they stopped to ask themselves, “What typeface says ‘Bollywood’?” and therein lies the crux of the essay:

Every typeface we tried seemed too European and Western. The audience for the show was a mix of local Australians and members of the Indian diaspora now living here. If the typeface was ‘too Indian’ it may not communicate with the local audience. Too Western a typeface and it didn’t look Indian enough.

…The fonts had flourishes and loops located above each word that was unified by a bar across its top. That was one aspect to be integrated into our hokey trans-cultural type design. But what of a sense of the ‘campiness’ and exaggerated theatricality of these films from Mumbai? Pussycat (also known as Pussycat Snickers) fit the bill.