When did you start collecting and why? What was the first piece of art you collected?I have always had a deep interest in painting right from my school years. I used to paint a lot, mostly water colors up until my college years. I upgraded my interest in art by spending time at Museums in London, Paris, Montreal and New York during my early working years when I was setting up Biocon. I was particularly impressed by figurative art and even today, my preference for figurative over abstract art remains. My first work of art was a 36" X 36" Yusuf Arakkal Oil on Canvas which I purchased in 1982 which finds of place in my office.
What draws you to art? What draws you to the pieces you collect?I am drawn to creative expression whether it be scientific or artistic. Painting, sculpture and the performing arts are all extremely creative forms of expression. I look for distinct styles of expression when I look at art. For instance, I am not drawn to landscapes that are almost photographic depictions.
Are you interested in modern art or art of an older age? Indian art or pieces from abroad?My preference is for contemporary art mostly figurative, landscapes and still life. I also like sculpture, bronzes, terracotta and ceramic. I do like Chola bronzes in terms of old pieces. In terms of old paintings, I do love renascence artists like Michael Angelo, Rembrandt, Renoir, Goya, El Greco. However my favorites are Van Gogh, Cezanne, Salvador Dali and Picasso. Among Indian artists my favorites are M.F. Husain, Manjit Bawa, Bikash Bhattacharya, Arakkal, Vasudev, Sunil Das, Jatin Das, Paresh Maity, Jogen, Jamini Roy and many others.
What is your favorite piece of art? Why?A Ganesh painting by M.F. Husain in my office which I love for the brilliant brush strokes and the wonderful use of color.
Where do you display your art? Do you plan to pass it on to a next generation or sell the artwork at some point?
Our home and offices are where we display most of our art. I am too emotionally linked to my art to want to sell it!
We heard you like architecture; is it true?
Yes - like I explained, I am drawn to creative expression and architecture certainly can express this very effectively.
If yes, what form of architecture do you like?
Classic architecture: Mughal, Gothic, Hoysala, Spanish, French, Greek , Roman, etc. etc.
There are several murals done by Yusuf Arakkal which I am very fond of. They really enhance the aura of our spaces.