MAQBUL FIDA HUSAIN Biography - Fictional, Iconical & Mythological characters


Biography » fictional iconical mythological characters » maqbul fida husain


Years ago, I had accompanied Husain to a Hindi movie. Barely 10 minutes after it began Husain was up on his feet, insisting that we leave the hall. Reason? He had found out what he needed to and there was no point wasting two-and-a-half hours watching the entire film. This shadow of restlessness has always hovered over Husain, the man and the artist. It’s a restlessness with which he moves from city to city, and friend to friend. And it’s the same attribute that prevents him from pursuing a concept in depth and exploring a fullness that his incisive mind is so capable of.


For Husain, there’s a constant need to discover something fresh. An experience that is reflected In his works as well. Whether it is “Zaheen", “Between Spider and the Lamp", “Voices” or his series on the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, that freshness comes out instantly.


The love for all things new finds Husain at home in all places. He has journeyed a long way from his oneroom accommodation in Badarbagh that doubled up as his studio and living room for his rather large family to a sprawling flat at Nariman Point; and from a cubby hole-with no toilet-in Hotel Flora at Delhi’s Jama Masjid to a suite in one of the poshest hotels in London’s Picadilly Circus. But it’s made no difference to him.


Somewhere deep in his heart, Husain is an ascetic person. At the same time he is fuelled by a passion for leading a full life. I still remember how withdrawn he had been in London in 1997. Deeply hurt by the violent protests in India against him, he could not fathom the anger behind them. A criminal case was being filed against him for depicting a goddess in the nude. There were rumours that he would be arrested when he landed in India. He was advised not to go back and the idea saddened him. But once the storm blew over, Husain was his sprightly self again.


Never one to refuse help, Husain makes sure he gets his due. In the earlier days when upcoming artists would go to him for help, he would persuade some of his affluent friends to buy their paintings. Once after the sale of one my paintings, insisted that we celebrate. We ended up in a restaurant where he ordered the most expensive item on the menu.


His zest for life is almost contagious. When he and I drove up to Varanasi once, we decided to do some sketches. The trip left a deep impact us. Varanasi in fact occupies a special place in Husain’s film, Gajagamini. Besides posing the challenges of a new medium for him, Gajagamini has been an enriching experience, making him take “revolutionary” decisions. His desire to experiment in other fields of creative life has seen him dabble in architecture, photography, poetry-writing, autobiographical sketches, even furniture-making.


As an artist he takes much credit for ensuring the patronage of Indian art by industrialists and others. In a novel interface, he began to paint murals in buildings in full public view. His unconventional gestures and his personality lent a certain awe to his works, and touched Indian art as a whole.