MF Husain’s tryst with Hyderabad ends on a sad note

This huge collection of Husain's works, a gallery and museum, has been segregated into various suites, each housing one form of art.

Hyderabad: Art lovers of Hyderabad, who had a lot of affinity towards the internationally-acclaimed artist, Maqbool Fida Husain, aka M F Husain, will now be missing his last link with the city. Husain’s unique and mystic art museum – Cinema Ghar – located at the vantage point on Road No. 12, Banjara Hills, is now being demolished, to make way for a commercial complex.

Cinema Ghar was inaugurated in 1999 by Bollywood actor Madhuri Dixit, who played a lead role in Husain’s epic film Gaja Gamini. A museum that had rare collections of the renowned artist that depict various phases of his life-time, it was rendezvous for hundreds of art lovers from all parts of the country regularly.

The property was sold off last year, sources said. The paintings and other collections, that formed a part of the exquisite experience of the art museum, had been shifted to Mumbai soon after the artiste’s death in London on June 9, 2011.

Cinema Ghar under demolition. A commercial complex is to come up soon here.

The peculiar feature of Cinema Ghar was that it had only two colors on the building’s elevation from outside – black and white, containing Husain’s trademark sketches carved out on the walls. However, once art-lovers went inside they used to witness a huge canvas of vibrant colors with several abstract and realistic paintings adorning the walls.

The museum had a gallery of photographs paying rich tribute to Indian cinema, from Dada Saheb Phalke to Madhuri Dixit and Tabu. It also had audio, video and digital albums of Beetles to A R Rahman and that of Urvashi to Martha Graham.

The building also had a 50-seat cinema theatre called Soundarya Talkies, equipped with a Dolby sound system and a library of about 2,000 books on art, cinema, music, dance, computer, science and technology. It had an exhibition hall to accommodate large works of art pieces.

This huge collection of Husain’s works, a gallery and museum, has been segregated into various suites, each housing one form of art.

Hyderabad had always been a special place for Husain. It was his in-laws’ place – he married Fazila, a Sulaimani Bohra Muslim residing in Hussaini Alam in 1941. Hussaini Alam is incidentally home to hundreds of both Dawoodi and Sulaimani Bohras who also have their Jamaat Khana’s there.

“He used to make surprise appearances in the streets of Hyderabad walking bare-footed; have a cup of an Irani chai at Secunderabad’s Grand Hotel. He used to take a stroll on the Tank Bund. Hyderabad was like his second home,” said Mir Ayoob Ali Khan, a senior journalist from the city.

He also hosted gatherings for the art lovers of Hyderabad at his Cinema Ghar where he unhesitatingly mingled with all, Khan added.

When Husain was facing threats to his life from the right-wing groups, forcing him to leave Mumbai in 2006, he thought of coming to Hyderabad and spending the rest of his life at Cinema Ghar because his friends had assured him that it was a safer place. “But he moved to Qatar for reasons known to him, and from there to London, where he passed away,” Khan said.

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