Notwithstanding the fact that Husain saheb was over 90, his zest for life was unmatched. Without any break or pause,he was working and creating masterpieces for more than seven decades. Without using the cliche, his passing away is truly an end of an era. The likes of Husain saheb born after 200-300 years. Our next generations would feel envious of us that we have seen him walking tall and barefoot in white kurta-pyjama with jhola dangling on his shoulder and small stick giving him the company.
MF Husain was ageless, painting till his last days leaves us with one of Indias greatest legacy of art. While it is time to grief, it is matter of great shame that he could not able to spend his last days in his own country with his own people. There can not be any debate that with his passing away, India has lost perhaps the all time greatest painter. That he was still around always give a kind of hope that all is not lost in India. We have still some icons to look up for an inspiration.
Once Forbes magazine has called him the "Picasso of India". In 1996 controversy arose over paintings originally painted in the 1970s which were interpreted as anti-Hindu. After legal cases and death threats, the champion painter was on a self imposed exile from 2006. In January, 2010, he was offered the citizenship of Qatar, which he accepted.
Husain saheb first became well-known as an artist in the late 1940s. In 1947, he joined the Progressive Artists Group, founded by Francis Newton Souza. This was a clique of young artists who wished to break with the nationalist traditions established by the Bengal school of art and to encourage an Indian avant-garde, engaged at an international level. In 1952, his first solo exhibition was held at Zürich and over the next few years, his work was widely seen in Europe and the US. In 1955, he was awarded the prestigious Padma Shree prize by the Government of India.
In 1967, he made his first film, Through the Eyes of a Painter. It was shown at the Berlin Film Festival and won a Golden Bear. MF Husain was a special invitee along with Pablo Picasso at the Sao Paulo Biennial in 1971. He has been awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1973 and was nominated to the Rajya Sabha in 1986. Husain went on to become the highest paid painter in India. His single canvases have fetched up to $2 million at Christies auction.
Husain was a die-hard fan of Bollywood. He started his career as an artist of film posters many,many decades ago in Bombay. Those were the days of struggle and hunger. Despite touching dizzy heights in his career, he had one regret in life that he did not see his mothers face. He lost his mother when he was barely two years old. His family had no picture of the lady whose son love to paint all the time and every time. His eyes moist when he talked about his mother. And watching films was his great passion since long. His relationship with Madhuri Dixit was both well-known and well-documented. Husain watched Dixit’s Hum Aapke Hain Kaun… 70 times. Last but not the least, it would take long time to come to terms with his death. RIP.