M.F. Hussain A Theatre Production – A Visceral Experience Demanding the Character(s)

Since this afternoon after the performance, the word ‘Visceral’ has continuously been running in my head. The flicker of this word is so frequent that I had to put it in the subject line of this review.

Obviously, I like intuitiveness. It clips the unimaginable for us to wonder at that moment and that’s alluring, not because it’s abstract; it cannot be. Intuitiveness comes from the years of learning and absorbing the distinctive as well as similar information from various sources that ultimately amalgamate all into a magnificent piece. That’s what I see in Ranji’s Devised Theatre Production – M.F. Hussain.

I believe, for many – Maqbool Fida Hussain is a renowned but controversial Indian Painter with one or two Bollywood films. That’s all we know and that’s how we remember him. The 67-minutes play successfully piques our interest in him and lets us open at least a webpage to discover more about his one-of-a-kind but a tragic journey, all thanks to the beautiful imageries, smooth movement, seamless light transition and the perfect music to imprint the whole scene into the audience mind. The story walks through M.F. Hussain’s life and his style of paintings by taking multiple stops to unveil the incidents behind his paintings which, in my belief, were the painter’s life-diaries.

The performance gives us a well-narrated biographical story without any viewpoints but fails to connect deeper due to the less developed characters. The missing emotion in all the characters and straight-forward dialogues don’t let you engage much with the story. I hope the character work will be taken care of and reflects and complements to already a visual treat in upcoming shows (this was the premiere show). Despite this, the performance, visuals and music stay in your mind and keep you hooked for its runtime. I definitely recommend to check it out.

PS: The probably-not-so-surprising Devdas and Minakshi – A Tale of Three Cities song & dance performances are tickling.

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