In exile, Husain wanted to destroy his paintings: Son

New Delhi: Forced to live away from India, MF Husain at one time wanted to destroy all his paintings, says his son Owais Husain who is hungering to conquer the wasteland of possibilities left behind by his illustrious father.

"I feel suddenly in life there is a wasteland in front of me, but the wasteland is rich, inspiring a hunger in me to devour the wasteland. I am ready, actually I am doing that," Owais Husain, who is making a documentary on his father, told reporters.

Recalling one of his father`s bouts of despair after his self-imposed exile from India, Owais, the youngest son of artist M.F. Husain, said, "There was a time he wanted to destroy all his paintings. What was the use, he said."

Owais, an artist and filmmaker, was here with brothers Shafqat, Shamshad and Mustaq to pay tribute to their father at a commemorative celebration by the Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust.

MF Husain passed away June 9 in London after a cardiac failure at 95. He had left India in 2006 after being threatened by Hindu radicals over his paintings.

Owais` movie, "Letters to My Son about My Father", is a generational father-to-son narrative about the family`s illustrious brush with art and fame - from the obscure areas of Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh to the bright lights of Mumbai and the world - riding on the patriarch, M.F. Husain.

"It will be a document of his life - capturing his journey as an artist and a man. I want to tell the story to my son - from a father to the son and address the posterity through him. I still have a few more interviews to do before I put it all together. I am also using family footage. But I am yet to find a close (end) to the movie - don`t yet know how I will end it," Owais said.

The documentary will use "classical music, photographs and several genres of art that Husain loved", his son said.

MF Husain, who experimented with filmmaking between his vocation and commissions - public art, historical series and installations - made three major films - "Through the Eyes of a Painter", " Gajagamini," "Meenaxi: Tale of Three Cities" - that combined art, narratives, characters and music.

One of the movies, "Through the Eyes of a Painter", which had won a Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival in 1967, was screened in the capital Saturday.

A 16-minute documentary, it was shot by the painter during his journey through Rajasthan. "The documentary, `Through the Eyes…` is inspiring," said Owais, who is in his mid thirties.

The younger Husain said his "father had completed two mega series of paintings - `History of Arab Civilisation`, `History of Indian Civilisation` before his demise". "He kept painting till his death," he said.

Owais` roster is crammed. "I have three films on the floor - that I am making. There is a solo exhibition of my art works at Gallery Espace in the capital in October. It will be a bit of a `dhamaka` - I have tried new formats and language," he said.


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