Horn Please and the wonderful world of India’s hand-painted trucks 9


Horn Please is a short film by directors Shantanu Suman and Istling Mirche, all about the bright and colourful hand-painted trucks that fuel India‘s massive goods transportation system. It is an insightful and captivating expose of this fascinating cultural phenomenon, touching on the history of truck painting in India, the significance of the designs and the lives of the painters and drivers. It also offers some differing points of view on the future of this specialised art form in the face of technological change.

There are obvious parallels with the painted modes of transport I found in Bangladesh last year and links to the HandPaintedType project which I am also a big fan of. A key distinction offered up in the film is the personal artistic nature of the truck paintings, versus the purely commercial motivations behind shop and other advertising signs. The pride and ownership of the truck paintings by the drivers themselves is something to behold, and it is this which brings such character and distinctive designs to the vehicles.

The film has been self-funded and has so far had two screenings in the USA. The trailer above gives a taster and if you are interested in seeing the full film then please do get in touch to enquire about how to set up future screeningsThank you Shantanu for sharing this fantastic piece of work, I hope that it can find a way to make it over to the UK in the future. I also I can’t wait to visit India one day and see the trucks for myself…

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