Pampadi: Tourist buses in Kerala will soon say goodbye to the caricatured movie stars adorning their bodies. The state transport commissioner has ordered chartered bus operators to clean up the vehicles of any eye-catching graffiti that might distract the drivers of other vehicles on the road.
The official crackdown follows a recent craze for movie-themed designs on vehicle exteriors. The bus operators started decking up their vehicles with posters of movie stars about five years ago in an apparent attempt to lure in college students looking for buses to go on annual picnics.
Some of the operators went to the extent of redesigning the buses to offer laser shows and JBL sound systems inside. One of them even added a glassy dance floor inside the bus. The bus operators spend extra to decorate the exteriors with movie posters or caricatures of movie stars.
Not surprisingly, Mohanlal remains the hot favourite when it comes to the party venues on wheels. Most of the artists who specialise in the bus art are based in Thrissur. They charge anywhere between Rs 10,000 to Rs 25,000 for a caricature. Bus owners do not mind shelling out the money in addition to about Rs 1.5 lakh for the painting of the body. A bus in Kottayam was denied permission for the annual testing last year after it was painted with a huge poster of Titanic The bus owner, Shamsan, who had spent several lakh rupees on the painting, removed the poster from the back side and kept the ones on the flanks after paying advertisement tax of Rs 41,000.