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A brush with erotica

The barefoot maestro speaks on his upcoming ventures

Photo: V. Ganesan

WHEN M.F. Husain wishes to speak to the press it has always been a bit of an adventure. At Cinema Ghar when he did materialise, he decided to play the public performer: throwing out his sensational sound bytes. This time, though, something was decidedly different. He wanted to talk. And he did so in a rush, as if he wanted to set the record straight and the artist, not the celebrity-painter came to the fore.

M.F. Husain has finally done his bit for one of the two things India is known for - Vatsyayana's Kamasutra. Having painted a series of 43 paintings inspired by the text, Husain says, "It took me a month-and-a-half. And as most of the miniatures reveal the book is about sex aesthetics and not about sex gymnastics. It's sheer poetry."

Sitting in the midst of his exhibition of remarkable paintings, Husain pulls out the `pillow book' with miniature versions of the series. "The launch of this series will coincide with the launch of Deepak Chopra's latest book on spiritualism and eroticism in New York.

In India, I may only exhibit these paintings at Kolkata, which has a mature response to this kind of art."

Sweet dreams

The paintings in the pillow book have a sculptural feel to their surface and the conversation is between the colours and forms.

Traces of the billboard painter are definitely missing and the grand, unabashed and unselfconscious gestures are subsumed.

The unconscious surfaces slowly, gradually caught in the thick swirl of colours.Husain is also working on a series based on his perceptions of the happenings of the 20th century, which will be on show next month.

Also lined up is a movie based on his biography directed by his son. "It's the early part of my life, the struggle which will be interesting not the success."

On his other film for which the script has been written keeping yet another Bollywood beauty in mind, Husain says, "I will start shooting with Urmila in October. She fits into the film, a comedy, as she has a very expressive face."

So much over the next few months? "I'm not that old... really," he says, signing off.

DEEPA ALEXANDER

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