A tranquil by lane in Somajiguda once happened to be the pad where M.F. Husain sketched some of his best works, including the ‘Ramayana' and ‘Mahabharata' series. Art connoisseur Badrivishal Pitti was elementary in supporting the artist who stayed in an outhouse on his property, popularly known as ‘Husain saheb ka kamra'.
“My father supported him tremendously which in fact Husain mentioned on his television interviews. He was the earliest collector and patron of Husain's works. We have his works from the 60s and 70s. We also had most of our relatives to purchase his works,” says his son Sharad. B. Pitti, Chairman and Managing Director, Pitti Laminations Limited.
Shanti Badrivishal Pitti recollects their association since Mumbai, then Bombay, days. “M.F. Husain painted at my husband's younger brother's house. At that time he was inspired by music. He would listen to recorded music or visit a concert and then understand the raga before he lifted the brush. I was witness to his work on the series that had 20 paintings and was inspired by ‘Ragamala'. My husband published a magazine ‘Kalpana' and M.F. Husain's sketches went for the cover page mostly,” she adds. Today, the Pittis residence is home to some of the finest of Husain's works on canvas, water colour on paper, sketches and even sculptures. “Very few people know that he made abstract motifs in plaster of Paris. He used to sculpt. He chiselled models in teakwood which he called toys before he painted them,” recollects Sharad Pitti, as he shows the rare collection of the wooden sculptures designed by the artist during his stay here. “He was also known for his creations from metal scraps,” he adds pointing to the photograph of a model of ‘Moon Landing', Husain's vision made using nuts, bolts and springs in one of the volumes on the artist that he possesses.
Another lesser known facet of M.F. Husain that the Pittis recall is his penchant for camera. “He was fond of shooting. He was a keen photographer and filmmaker. In fact in 1975 he shot my sister's wedding video on the 8 mm film,” recollects Sharad.
But what impresses one at his residence is the varied collection that spans from muted tones to a riot of reds and blues, the latter evident in Husain's horses series. “Husain has been consistent with his canvas throughout his life, maybe got more colourful as years progressed. M.F. Husain was much ahead of his time,” he sums up.