Google celebrates birth centenary of MF Hussain, ‘Picasso of India’


Google on Thursday celebrated the birth centenary of renowned Indian artist Maqbool Fida Husain with Google doodle.

Using some of the painter’s favourite colours, notably pastels in blue, red, yellow ochre and mud brown, Google’s doodle is an abstract geometrical illustration with circles and Husain’s painted portrait holding a brush at the centre.

Hussain had died in London on 9 June, 2011 while on a self-imposed exile since 2006 due to death threats from right wing groups back home and scores of lawsuits.

The search engine called him Picasso of India.

“This was partly due to his modernist, slightly cubist paintings and to the sheer volume of work he produced. His middle name, ‘Fida’ can be translated as ‘obsessed’ or ‘devoted’ which could also describe his approach to making art.” Google said.

The internet giant recalled that Husain’s first love was cinema and he originally set out to become a film director in Mumbai. But to make a living, he got a job painting film billboards and making toys.

The painter was born in Pandharpur, Maharashtra, September 17, 1915 to mother Zunaib and father Fida. His tryst with painting began when he learnt the art of calligraphy.

Painting soon became his passion, and inspired by the changes in India in the late 1940s, he helped found The Progressive Artists Group of Bombay, under which he and his fellow artists attempted to address Indian themes in a modern way and take Indian art to a global audience.

Husain became particularly known for his energetic painting of horses and serial depictions of classic narratives such as the Mahabharata and Indian gods and goddesses. But eventually, the acclaim he received from his early paintings led him back to cinema.

His directorial work included a film — “Through the Eyes of a Painter.”

He was particularly fascinated by actor Madhuri Dixit and made movies with her and Tabu. He was also said to be keen on making a film with Vidya Balan in the lead.

For the bare-foot, lanky, silver-maned Husain, controversy and fame went hand in hand. And that’s what made him leave India for Doha in 2006 — and even took Qatari citizenship.

He would spend his winters there and the summers in London.


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