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On the big canvas

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.

Written by Georgina Maddox |
June 17, 2010 10:55:29 pm

Owais Husain plans a documentary on his father MF Husain’s political exile

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. 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,” confirms Owais over a telephonic interview from Los Angeles. Currently,MF Husain is in Qatar,concentrating on painting the commissioned 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. It is based on his life,but the film will focus mostly on the last three years. We have been in constant touch. 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 different from holding the brush. “Painting is a solitary act whereas with film there is a different kind of mathematics involved,” 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 filmmaking. 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,M F Husain could not be reached in Qatar.

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