[Reader-list] The Bliss of Madhuri: Husain and His Muse - a public lecture

Yousuf ysaeed7 at yahoo.com
Fri Mar 19 11:59:28 IST 2010

AJK MCRC, Jamia Millia Islamia
invites you to a Public Lecture on
Patricia Uberoi
JB MRC Room, MCRC New Building, 2nd Floor
Thursday, March 25, 2010, 2PM 

By all accounts, including his own, M.F. Husain has found artistic inspiration in several ‘muses’, but none so publicly acknowledged and well-publicized as his relationship with Bollywood screen goddess, Madhuri Dixit. Husain committed her image to canvas in a series of featureless portraits, and on celluloid through his five-million dollar film, Gaja Gamini, which he scripted and directed.  ‘It took me 60 years to realize this dream’, Husain wrote, ‘of which 30 years were spent in allowing Madhuri to arrive.’
Following his trajectory from art to cinema, this illustrated presentation critically reflects upon Husain’s project of rendering in cinema the timeless attributes of Indian womanhood in relation to a universal ideal of the feminine. In particular it seeks to address two interconnected issues raised by Husain’s Gaja Gamini project and the public discourse that has surrounded it: (i) the problematics of the female ‘muse’; or, should one say bluntly, the gender politics of male artistic production; and (ii) Husain’s spectacularisation of the female body of Madhuri Dixit.  Admittedly, linking these two themes is no straightforward matter, located as they are in very different discursive universes. However, addressing these questions might lead us to understand how Husain’s infatuation with his muse is actually pertinent to an understanding of the public controversies in which he has become so conspicuously embroiled in recent years.
Patricia UBEROI was formerly Professor of Social Change and Development at the Institute of Economic Growth, Delhi, and Honorary Director of the Institute of Chinese Studies, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi. She has published widely in the fields of family, kinship, gender, sexuality and popular culture with reference to both India and China. In addition to her book Freedom and Destiny: Gender, Family and Popular Culture in India (2006), she has edited Family, Kinship and Marriage in India (1993), Social Reform, Sexuality and the State (1996), Tradition, Pluralism and Identity (co-ed., 1999), Anthropology in the East:  Founders of Indian Sociology and Anthropology (co-ed., 2007), Marriage, Migration and Gender (co-ed, 2008) and Rise of the Asian Giants:  Dragon-Elephant Tango (2008).  
(The JB MRC is supported by funds from the SRTT.)


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