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Freeze Frame

The last we heard from Maqbool Fida Husain was that he had become a citizen of Qatar. However his youngest son Owais Husain is not letting us forget that the maverick painter belongs to India anytime soon.

Written by Georgina Maddox |
June 14, 2010 11:45:13 pm

Owais Husain is planning to capture his father MF Husain’s political exile in a documentary soon

The last we heard from Maqbool Fida Husain was that he had become a citizen of Qatar. However his youngest son Owais Husain is not letting us forget that the maverick painter belongs to India anytime soon. He is now working on a movie on MF Husain,a tribute to both the artist and the father. “The format of the film will be a documentary,but I will experiment a bit with the narrative. Things have changed over the years and documentary,as a genre,has entered the mainstream. One just has to make sure the film is interesting and creative and holds the audience’s interest,” confirms Owais over a telephonic interview from Los Angeles,before catching a flight to London. Currently MF Husain is in Qatar,concentrating on painting the commissioned works for the Royal family in Qatar.

The film’s working title is Letters to my

father and it is still in its production stage. “I have started scripting and of course,it is based on his life,but the film will focus mostly on the last three years. We have been in constant touch ever since he moved away from India,so currently I am sifting through all the data I have on hand. We’ve been writing to each other since my father is not an email person. Though the phone is a handy instrument,I find that letters have a certain quality to them. In the last three years,he has talked about his political exile and how he felt about it. They are emotional testimonials about what he went through,” says the J J School of Art alumna,who is known for both his paintings and his films.

Naturally the act of wielding the camera is very different from holding the brush; “Painting is a solitary act whereas with film there is a different kind of mathematics involved. One can be more experimental with films because it involves working with many people and many ideas. It is an art to balance all the different views and ideas and still keep one’s integrity as director of the film intact,” says Owais,42.

Incidentally,the last time the father and son worked together on a movie — in Meenaxi:A Tale of Three Cities— it had ended in a huge row between father and son on the sets of the film in Jaisalmer. The senior Husain had even gone on to say,“We are generations apart and that showed the most when we worked on Meenaxi. My metaphor would be the green parrot in a cage while his is the crow on the garbage dump!” But Owais says they have moved on since then. “I deeply love my father but I don’t think we saw eye to eye when it came to film-making. That’s why we decided to do our own independent ventures after that,” says Owais,who is also working on a feature film. His father too,apparently,has given his consent on making the movie. “He is happy that it is being made,” says Owais. Despite repeated attempts,MF Husain could not be reached in Qatar.

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