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FAVOURITE MOVIE: Mother India
FAVOURITE SINGER: Mehndi Hasan
FAVOURITE ACTOR: Dilip Kumar
FAOURITE POET: Ghalib
— Aftab Borka
Like most talented artists, Ibrahim Rajput has been an artist since his childhood. His work was first exhibited in 1965 in Hyderabad. And after a huge gap of 40 years, he made his second coming in 2005 in Karachi. In his own words, art needs nothing to prove itself.
“When I was in school, I used to draw paintings on cardboards, papers and even walls. I would draw anything that would come to my mind,” says Mr Rajput. ‘Failed in business, a dejected lover’, is what he has been profiled on the invitation of his latest exhibition at the Arts Council. Now at the age of 67, he has decided to dedicate the rest of his life to painting, something he believes he should have done much earlier. He says many of his painting are old and rare, those he finished in 60s.
As far as his own profession is concerned, Ibrahim Rajput says he doesn’t like abstract paintings. According to him, this form of painting requires not much hard work. “Sometimes people would just draw a line and splash some colours on it. This is not art to me,” smiles Mr Rajput.
But he does have some favourites who are known for this kind of paintings. Amin Guljee is one of them. “He is one of my favourites. I always admire his works, especially mosaics. He is different from others,” says he. Another of his favourite artist is Aftab Zafar.
Rajput likes to paint portraits too. And for that matter he is inspired by Iqbal Mehndi’s work. He says he like to make portraits because some faces are just made for portraits. He mentions Imran Khan as being the most artistic person of his times. “I remember watching him on the field when he was young. Imran had a very artistic body,” he says. On being asked who has the most artistic face today that he would like to paint a portrait of, Ibrahim quickly says, “Aishwarya Rai. Her face is just beautiful. There some faces that just strike you at once. And she is one of them.”
On being asked what he has to say when some religious figures criticize people like him for painting human face and figure, which is considered unIslamic, Ibrahim Rajput says he only draws what comes into his mind.
“I only draw what catches my imagination. And no one can stop images from coming into my mind. But I don’t think this has anything to do with religion,” he says. Mr Rajput is keen on observing Bollywood faces, but he doesn’t watch their movies. He says there is only one movie he has watched from the beginning till the credit started rolling. And that was Sunil Dutt and Nargis’s Mother India. “I used to watch movies long ago. And that too in bits and pieces. So it’s hard to name anything else besides Mother India,” says he. But as far as his favourite actor or actress is concerned, he names Madhubala and Dilip Kumar.
Ibrahim Rajput has visited India many times. He says whenever he wants to find more ideas or locations for his paintings, he prefers going to India. “India is huge and you find a variety of cultures, languages and historical places,” he says. Tracing his roots back to Jaipur where he was born, Rajput has taken a lot of inspiration from the Mughal heritage and the theme of his latest exhibition is centred an it. He is so passionate about his work that he has also been to Ajanta and Arora, a unique location in Maharashtra where some of the oldest caves exist.
Coming to music, Ibrahim Rajput is interested in listening to old songs. Again it’s difficult for him to recall the name of one song that he can claim as his favourite but he insists that the soundtrack of the film Andaz is his favourite. “It was a great movie with great music. And if I remember correctly, Tu kahe agar jeevan bhar is one track that I really like,” recalls the painter. His favourite singers include Mukesh, Kishore Kumar, Lata and Mehndi Hassan. “I like to listen to Mehndi sahab’s ghazals, especially the ones peened by Faiz,” he says.
Talking about poetry, Rajput says that there is a poet inside him. But what is different about this man is that he doesn’t write his poetry – he simply turns his poetic inspirations into painting. Ibrahim Rajput is so inspired by Urdu poetry that a large collection of his paintings is based on Ghalib’s ghazals. He has described Ghalib’s feelings and pains with the help of colours. And there is a special reason for that.
“I think I am the new era’s Ghalib. I have been going through the same struggle and ordeals Ghalib had to face in his times,” discloses he. And what does he think those ordeals were?
“Well, I think Ghalib was never got what he deserved. And he spent all his life in poverty. But good part is that he never cared about all this. Instead, he concentrated on his poetry and we all know how great was he,” explains that artist. Adding that he also doesn’t care if someone doesn’t like his works, he speaks this famous line, “Pewasta hai shajar se ummeed-e-bahar”.
Ibrahim Rajput is also working on paintings inspired by Faiz’s poetry too, which is a part of his upcoming exhibition in Karachi.
When asked about books, Rajput says that he has limited himself to reading mostly books on art and culture. However, he cannot recall any as his favourite. “It is very difficult for me to name any favourites because I believe in treating everything equally,” he says.