Known the world over for his iconic film Umrao Jaan released in 1981, Muzaffar Ali is essentially a painter. filmmaker and designer with a discerning eye and a vision for aesthetics and humanity. He has been deeply inspired by Sufism since 1990 while he was making his feature film Zooni in Kashmir on the 16th century poetess queen of the valley.
He has several other socially relevant award winning films like Gaman, Aagaman and Anjuman to his credit. His latest feature film Jaanisaar was released in 2015.
Muzaffar Ali has also made scores of television serials, documentaries and short films, mainly centered on Awadh, craft, culture, exploitation of women and Sufism. He also directed an opera, La Faqir de Benaras, the first to be staged in a India. In 1991, he turned back to his roots in Kotwara and Lucknow, beginning the Dwar Pe Rozi, employment at the doorstep movement through craft. Together with his architect wife Meera Ali, they established KOTWARA, their international couture brand.
He was awarded Yash Bharti Award in 1994, Padma Shri in 2005 and the Rajiv Gandhi Rashtriya Sadbhavana Award in 2014.
In 2004, Muzaffar Ali instituted the Rumi Foundation, which holds several Sufi festivals including the World Sufi Music Festival, Jahan e Khusrau and the Wajid Ali Shah Festival and publishes a regular coffee table books on Sufism.
Paintings are an organic extension of Muzaffar Ali’s aesthetics which has guided his intellectual and spiritual quest. He has worked impulsively since his childhood to find expression in simple things around him. This simplicity has matured into a greater sense of simplicity in his new LEAF MIXED MEDIA WORK.
“The leaf that wafts so elegantly in the wind becomes insignificant when it is dismembered from its source. The lament of dry leave falls on deaf ears till we see its beauty from the inner eye and hear its inaudible sound in the blowing wind.
This leaf when placed on canvas becomes a legend.” ~ Muzaffar Ali
Paintings for Muzaffar Ali are a dialogue of sensibilities which know no boundaries. His approach is as simple as it was when he started his romance with pencil and the drawing book often looking lost staring at the blank page.
Muzaffar Ali held his first solo show of paintings at the Academy of Fine Art in Calcutta in 1968 and has continued his journey moving with ease between sketches, water colours, crayons, oils, installations and collages.