Friday, August 7, 2009

M F Husain, away from India, still in spotlight

Painter M F Husain’s quest to trace his cultural roots coupled with an effortless grasping of diverse cultural influences have made him one of the most recognizable contemporary Indian artists. The legendary artist is all set to release his next movie. It will probably be in cinemas by 2009 end.

Incidentally, his first movie ‘Through the Eyes of a Painter’ won him a Golden Bear award at the Berlin Film Festival. Now, his autobiography is being transformed into a movie, which is tentatively titled ‘The Making of the Painter’. Promising actor Shreyas Talpade stars as the young Husain.

Interacting with media persons, he revealed that he is very much desperate to return to his homeland but it would take some more time. Turning nostalgic, he recounted how starting his career as a billboard painter had allowed him to stay afloat during his initial tough days in the city of Mumbai.

He said, "It was necessary since I went to Mumbai penniless. From the age of 11, I was painting billboards to earn my livelihood for 7 years. Though simultaneously I was painting, I never could exhibit those paintings for 18 years. I exhibited them after independence."

In the past, organizations like VHP and Hindu Jagruti Samiti had protested against his paintings of nude Hindu goddess. Husain had apologized and withdrawn those paintings from auction. The Supreme Court of India in September 2008 refused to initiate criminal proceedings against the artist, for allegedly hurting public sentiment through some of his ‘obscene’ paintings.

Controversies continue to chase the eminent artist. His works have been excluded from the India Art Summit for the second year running. The summit had avoided showcasing his works in 2008 apparently for security reasons. Husain, though, has played down the exclusion, terming it all part of a long struggle.

He was quoted as saying, “For the last 15 years my struggle has been going on, with over 800 cases. Only one of them has reached some resolution in the Supreme Court. I understand the situation, as this is nothing new. The whole art world has been facing this problem for some years now.”

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