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Husain's New Muse

India’s unrivalled No. 1 artist M F Husain – currently in ‘exile’ from his homeland – has been addictively keeping track of Bollywood movies, whether he is in Doha, Dubai, London or New York.

And jai ho, he has found his new muse in none other than Vidya Balan. In fact, he is contemplating to cast her in his next film, a comedy which he has been longing to produce and direct ever since Meenakshi: A Tale of Three Cities. The lead heroine under consideration was Urmila Matondkar, whom he had also met to discuss the storyline and the theme he was scripting.

“I have been rethinking the project and rewriting some of the scenes,” the master artist told Box Office India over a phone-chat from Doha, adding, “I’ve been missing the medium of cinema which I think is the most versatile medium ever. I should be ready to start my film towards the end of this year or some time in 2011, Inshallah.”

Husain has already made his filming plans known over the phone to Vidya Balan, whom he was extremely impressed by in Ishqiya. “You were terrific,” he told the feisty actress who fits his image of a young contemporary Indian woman, but he also said, “I didn’t like the title of the film. What did it mean?”

We don’t know what Vidya Balan said in response, but Husain has apparently moved on from his resolve to cast either Urmila Matondkar or Amrita Rao in his third film after Gaja Gamini and Meenakshi: A Tale of Three Cities. He has seen Vidya’s Parineeta, Paa and Ishqiya of course. “Her performance as a woman who knows her mind and who can project sensuality without wearing skimpy western costumes, impressed me immediately,” he said.

Madhuri Dixit, meanwhile, continues to be his all-time favourite. “Whenever I want to be in touch with India, I watch a DVD of Hum Aap Ke Koun..!” which he has already seen nearly a hundred times. “I should be in the Guinness Book Of Records for that,” he laughed.

Yet there is no doubt that for his next film Vidya Balan is his first choice. His films do not aim to cater to the box office. Which is why his feature films have always gained acclaim at international film festivals and among the congnoscenti as works of “uncompromised cinema.” Incidentally his documentary Through The Eyes Of A Painter had bagged the Berlin Film Festival’s highest honour, the Golden Bear Award. Now his intention to cast Vidya, is what we call Ishqiya through the eyes of a painter.

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