Hues of ‘Purana Bhopal’ coming alive on canvas of Faisal Mateen

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 03 Feb 2018 11:11:54



By Pallavi Singh,

The old heritage and culture is still alive on the walls of Yaseen Mahal which I saw as a kid. Even ‘jharokha’ and ‘roshandan’ had a story of their own. This prompted me to bring all these elements of old times and old Bhopal on canvas.
– Faisal Mateen

Slanting rays of sun were falling on the canvas, making the shades of yellow, blue and red shine even brighter against the white surface. Engrossed in his painting with a colour palette kept on his side and a brush in his hand, he looked distant. “I spent my childhood in these lanes of old Bhopal. Many instances, scenes and spots cross my mind when I go down the memory lane. These lanes talk to me in language of emotions and feelings. When I paint them, I only paint the connection that I have with this city and my childhood years,” said 48-year-old artist from Bhopal, Faisal Mateen, while filling colours in rough outlines of the painting.

Coming from the family of Nawabs, Mateen spent his childhood years in the 250 year old Yaseen Mahal, nestled beside old peer gate area. The images that, he gathered as a child of the life and culture of old city area back in the days are now breathing on his canvas. “My maternal grandfather Saleem Mohammed Khan was the descendent of Dost Mohammed Khan.

The old heritage and culture was still alive in the walls of Yaseen Mahal, which I saw as a kid. Even the ‘jharokha’ and ‘roshnadan’ had a story of their own. This prompted me to bring all these elements of the old times and old Bhopal on canvas,” he said, showing old photographs of the bygone days. He is also running a very famous page ‘Surma Bhopali’ on facebook and is also planning to come up with an animated character on the same very soon.

A part of Jain Mandir painted with the minaret of Jama Masjid on other side, a Mughal style ‘Mehrab’ with old cycle in Tallaiya area and the oldest lodge of Bhopal, Rajvansh Lodge, all these and many other spots of old city not only invoke awe, but compels the viewer to relive that era going back in time. Mateen has painted almost every corner of old city, amalgamating his feeling with water colours and painting it on canvas.

Part of Fatehgarh Fort with Upper Lake showing in the corner, Yaseen Mahal standing in all its glory, streets of Ibrahimpura, Loha bazaar, Azad Market, Chowk area, area near Peer Gate, Gauhar Mahal, Somwara, Imami Gate, Lal Masjid and many other corners of the city and their street life has been painted by this accomplished artist. Talking about the lanes of Bhopal and his paintings he said, “Our family has huge collection of old photographs of Bhopal where Bhopal looks very different from today. I have painted those photographs showing the grandeur of architecture and the true culture of this Nawabi city. Earlier, I also used to do spot painting, but as the city is getting more and more crowded I click photos and then paint the same on canvas.”

Talking about the change in culture and society of the city, he said that things have changed a lot over past 25 to 30 years. I remember as a child I saw people of ‘Mohallas’ sitting on ‘Patiya’ outside their house and talking and resolving small issues during evening hours, while sipping tea. This culture of lanes and ‘Mohalla’ is slowly disappearing. Most people have already shifted to new city areas leaving old houses. My mother, Sultana Begum sometimes while discussing old times says that Somwara which is considered to be one of the busiest areas of old city today hardly saw any traffic 40 years back. “Agar do gaadi bhi dikh jaati thi toh hum valid sahib ko jakar btate the”, she says.

Mateen along with his family now lives in Koh-e-Fiza, while his brother lives in Yaseen Mahal. “We left Yaseen Mahal and shifted to Koh-e-Fiza, but my mother still misses the place and often talks about it fondly, telling old tales and instances. “I saw part of Shaukat Mahal being demolished for the fear of accident as it became weak due to lack of maintenance. It pains me to see the heritage and old culture being abandoned like this. Through my paintings I give people a message to preserve their roots and to realize the value of heritage,” he added showing an old picture of Yaseen Mahal.