Tuesday, July 5, 2011

MF Husain wanted to burn his works

It was a rare meeting of sorts when three of MF Husain's sons – Shamshad, Shafat and Owais – were present in the capital on Saturday evening to be part of a tribute organized for the artist.

However, what Husain's younger son Owais told us was rarer still – that his father wanted to destroy all his works before dying. Talking about how interesting it'd be to see him the way in which his father went down in the pages of history, Owais said, "He would say that he wants to burn down all his works before he dies. He wasn't a conservationist and never wanted to be one; everyone knows that. When I asked him why, he'd simply say, 'Kya karna hai?' I guess history has given an answer to that one.

While talking about his father's death in London, Owais said, "When I went to register the certificate of death, the lady asked me his age, I said 97. She asked me his profession and I said artist. She wrote retired in brackets next to artist, but I told her 'Madam, please rub that off' because he had his boots on. If he was here, he would've been among us waving the flag and making much noise saying you guys are far too tame. His lifestyle was all about the pop culture and he became part of it. Somewhere, his drive was just not to create, create, but also to be relevant. All his actions, his media frenzy, a splash here, a flash here, through his various associations with colourful people, was about being relevant.

And now Owais is making sure that his father remains relevant in public memory, even though the filmmaker did face a rough patch with the artist. He tells us, "I'm making a feature film based on his life with mirch masala songs... The celebration, colours, etc. I have also been working on a documentary for the past three years on his life. It's called "Letters To My Son About My Father". I hope to complete that by the year end. It's my journey with him and has my narrative running through. The feature film is still in the planning stage. I've thought of no name for it." Ask him about the cast, and Owais says, "There's a wish list, but it's unfair to give names right now. It would be someone from Bollywood, obviously. You can't have Al Pacino coming and shaking a leg, right?" Tell him that Husain's son may actually be able to convince the Hollywood actor and he says, "In that case, you already know of a name from my wish list.

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