So-Called India's most prominent painter, late M.F. Husain had a considerable fan following until the early 90s. But then he started focusing more on his nude paintings, strategically targeting Hinduism, and organizing exhibitions around the world for the same. He found support from the left ecosystem that believes a little bit knowledge about Hindu mythology, as well as the art inside Ajanta Ellora Caves, gives anyone a license to insult Hindu Gods and Goddesses.
For art lovers, the vibrant colors in his work might prove to be fascinating. But even they won't deny that he never drew a nude Gandhi, Mother Teresa, or Gods-Goddesses from other religions to exercise his artistic freedom. He had left India in 2005 due to criticism, threats, hundreds of court cases, and lived in Qatar until his death in 2011. The courts had given him a clean-chit in 2008.
“This extraordinary director used his art to taunt controversial painter M.F. Husain”
Filmmakers have the most powerful medium in the country at their disposal. But these days there are many constraints and too many limitations that moviemakers face. Thus, most of them try to play safe and never offend anyone.
There are a few of them who often take the lead and push the envelope. Ace filmmaker Anees Bazmee happens to be one of the storytellers who know how to slip it in and take a dig at someone without offending the concerned person. It often works very well. Movies made by such directors can be enjoyed at face value, but if you get into the layers within, you would find some scenes profound and enjoy them a little bit more.
“There’s a lot to write about this extraordinary genius and his films. But let's focus on his films Welcome and its sequel Welcome Back.”
Characters like Uday (Nana Patekar), Majnu/Sagar (Anil Kapoor), and their boss Ranvir Dhanraj Xaka- RDX (Feroz Khan) have become Bollywood's most popular ones. Welcome (2007) was also late Feroz Khan's last film, and his pivotal role in Bazmee's film seemed tailor-made.
Some sections of the plot (the gangster family's funny side) seem to be inspired from the underlying theme of the film Mickey Blue Eyes (1999) and Married to the Mafia (2002). However, the elements were surely not heavily borrowed. The dialogues, co-written by Bazmee make the characters witty.
As mentioned earlier, if you carefully analyze the layers within, you would enjoy it a little more. Perhaps, only Anees Bazmee’s fans would be able to point out that several dialogues from Welcome (2007) take a dig at painter M.F. Husain and some of his paintings. In one of the scenes between Anil Kapoor and Nana Patekar, Kapoor even refers to him as “FM Husain.”
The painting introduced as “Rocking Horse” during the auction scene is nothing but a hilarious version of Husain’s horse paintings.
In the sequel, Welcome Back, the writer-director pushed the envelope even further. Besides a few one-liners on the notorious painter, Naseeruddin Shah's (Wanted Bhai) look in the film seemed to be inspired by Husain's look. Some fans compared it with Karl Lagerfeld's style, but it matches with the late painter even more.
Not just Husain, but director Anees Bazmee often takes a dig at politicians, industrialists, underworld dons, journalists, etc.
For those who are not well versed with Bollywood, Bazmee has several super-hit comedy films to his credit since the 1990s. He is well-known due to his movies like Pyaar To Hona Hi Tha, Deewangee, Sandwich, No Entry, Welcome; Singh is Kinng, Thank You, Ready, Welcome Back, and Mubarakan. The senior filmmaker has never made films that hurt religious sentiments and believes in making entertainers that he can comfortably watch with his wife, daughter.
Anees Bazmee started his career as a dialogue writer for Hum Farishte Nahin, released in 1988, but got some limelight only after working as Raj Kapoor’s assistant in Prem Rog (1982).
As a writer, he has also written some of director David Dhawan's hits from the 90s like Swarg, Shola Aur Shabnam, Raja Babu, Aankhen, Deewana Mastana, Mujhse Shaadi Karogi, etc. His recent film Mubarakan happens to be one of the fabulous family entertainers released during the last year. Now, fans are waiting for his next films-Pagalpanti, Aankhen 2, and No Entry Mein Entry.