Husain Paints India’s 
Oscar Moment

DUBAI - “The song with its ecstatic crescendo and inspirational lyrics moved me the first time I heard it.

By Pratibha Umashankar (KT Exclusive)

Published: Thu 26 Feb 2009, 1:23 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 1:33 AM

And when I watched the moment of triumph on television as A R Rahman went up on stage to receive the award to global applause, I felt goose bumps,” said M F Husain. He has recorded the historic moment as only he can – in a painting.

He honoured Khaleej Times by making it the first media organisation to see the painting.

Celebrated painter MF Husain with the painting he did to celebrate the victory of India at the Oscars.—KT photo by Mukesh KamalThe painting bears the inscription: On India’s great Independence of 1947, we proclaimed Jai Hind from the ramparts of Red Fort. Now in 2009, we Indians are proud to sing in chorus with Rahman … Jai Ho to unite, from the top of the world.

The painting depicts an Indianised Statue of Liberty with a veena that symbolises art in her right hand and holding aloft the torch in her left hand. The lady sports a red bindi. Rahman, accompanied by the two young protagonists is seen waving the Indian flag.

“I expressed my emotion of joy and patriotism within moments of watching the award ceremony,” says the artist.

“I will forever remember the two historic moments in my life – India’s Independence and India’s artistic glory at the Oscars. The first milestone marked a political victory and the second one, India’s cultural victory. Rahman’s music combines the best in Indian music with a Western beat. It is both melodious and dynamic. And Resul Pookutty’s technical genius has made it a perfect blend of the aesthetic and scientific elements coming together to create art. It stands for the New India – young a India that is ready to be stand up and be counted globally. And the Chorus of Jai Ho is the new mantra. It finds a ready echo in every Indian heart.”

Husain, who keeps up with the times, calls himself a Bollywood Lover with muses Madhuri Dixit and Amrita Rao from the film industry.

Husain’s story in some way mirrors the hero of Slumdog Millionaire, that is fast gaining a cult status.

He started his meteoric rise as an artist by painting Bollywood hoardings on the streets of Mumbai.

Cinema as a medium is close to his heart and he has made two Bollywood films, one of which, The Tale of Three Cities – Meenakshi, had music composed by Rahman.

“Rahman is a genius and goes into a trance when he makes music. I spent a year only on the music of my film,” says Husain, admiring another artist.

Call it a gimmick or art, Husain at 92 is clued on to the times.

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