Interview with top film publicity designer- Aadeeb Shaikh

During the process of transformation and resurrection of Punjabi cinema, besides the improvements in production techniques and fundamental filmmaking values, there’s one important element that has undergone a radical change as well. And that is, the “movie posters”. Let’s face it. A drab and uninteresting poster is not able to fetch the audiences to the theatre as much as a really creative and striking poster can. Ever wondered who are the people behind designing posters for movies like, ‘Jatt and Juliet’, ‘Singh vs. Kaur’, ‘Tu Mera 22 Main Tera 22’, ‘Tera Mera Ki Rishta’ and so on? chats up with Aadeeb Shaikh, the owner of ‘Thirsty Fish’ –a film designing company based in Mumbai, and behind the designing of almost every successful movie of the new-age Punjabi cinema.   

aadeeb shaikhQ: What was it that drew you to producing artwork for films?

A: Advertising and films have always excited me. The only reason that lures me towards film designing is the designing/branding rules. They can be followed, bent or broken. Your every canvas is like an open sky. 

Q: How was Thirsty Fish formed?

A: Torn jeans and a free spirit make some crazy college days. Thirsty Fish has always been my teenage dream - to start a design studio, which is purely based on 60% idea and 40% design. It was some hard toil and labor at the beginning, but I guess, there is always a light at the end of every tunnel. All thanks to the Almighty, we found one!

Q: Tell us more about Thirsty Fish.

Thirsty Fish is a small studio, with big ideas. It's been five years now. Feels like a very long journey and a very short span of time. We are based out of a funky garage in Mumbai. Yes, you heard it right – a garage. Guess we were always destined to start the Steve Jobs way!

Q: How did you get interested in Punjabi films? Which was the first Punjabi film that you designed for?

A: When we did our first film 'Tera Mera Ki Rishta', the Punjabi industry was undergoing a major revolution. It soon became our first Punjabi film and there was no looking back since then. 

Q: You must be a great film fan. Are there any particular genres you like to work with?

A: Every filmmaker has a story to tell. Any film with good content will always make my list. At ‘Thirsty Fish’, we would love to design posters for an action flick. 

Q: Your future projects?thirsty-fish-logo

A: This really has been an exciting year for ‘Thirsty Fish’. We have some awesome films like ‘Naughty Jatts’, ‘Jatt Airways’, ‘Fer Mamla Gadbad Gadbad’, ‘Aashiqui Not Allowed’, ‘Punjab Bolda’ and of course, the big one ‘Jatt & Juliet 2’.  

Q: Are you into Hindi film designing as well?

A: Frankly, Bollywood has never been our focus. The posters out there, use too much of Photoshop, with very little or no sense of “ideation”. However, things are changing now. Guess it’s time to broaden our horizons. 

Q: What’s the most challenging part, in your opinion, as far as designing for Punjabi films is concerned?

A: The Punjab industry is exhilarating. Here, the poster should speak louder than the film. The biggest challenge is to hit a new idea with every poster we make. 

Q: Which was the film that you really enjoyed working on?

A: All our projects are my favorite. To choose one, is like choosing your best baby. But, if you really insist, the ‘Jatt & Juliet’ series tops it all. I have to really appreciate Mr. Anurag Singh, the director of Jatt & Juliet, who pushed us to our limits and beyond. He actually got the best out of us. 

Some of the posters by Thirsty Fish


jatt and juliet ver3

Pinky Mogewali