On Late MF Hussain’s Birthday, Saira Banu Reminisces

By: Priyal Joshi

On Late MF Hussain’s Birthday, Veteran Actor Saira Banu takes to Instagram to say, “Maqbool Fida Hussain was a dear friend and admirer of Sahib alongside other close friends. Often, they would meet at “The Taj Hotel Chambers” for High Tea, Lunch, Dinners, and family functions at Home, and also at midnight when Pran Saab and Satish Bhalla would honk the horn outside our house asking Sahib to wake up for a midnight drive! Ooof! We wives have to exercise patience!

I vividly remember Mr. Hussain’s visits to our home. Once Sahib had a high fever, and Mr. Hussain and Mrs. Bakul Rajni Patel visited, they sat by his bedside, and suddenly, Mr. Hussain pulled out a drawing paper and started sketching a portrait of Sahib. I always treasure that sketch. Next time he came equipped with tons of pristine painting canvas which he stretched out on the drawing room’s floor, made Sahib sit on a chair, and made a portrait. Later, he submitted it to a museum in Hyderabad.
Mr. Hussain, a Padmashri, Padmabhushan, and Padmavibhushan, was a globally celebrated Indian artist of the 20th century who attended the Sao Paulo Biennial with Pablo Picasso. His themes ranged from Horses, Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi, the Ramayana, and the British Raj. His “Voices” painting was auctioned for 2.5 Million Dollars. He began his career painting Cinema Posters for the growing Film Industry in Bombay. Back then, I proudly remember that he had declared that “Pari Chehra” Naseem Banu’s face was the most beautiful that he ever painted. ‘Five Horses’ by Mr. Hussain is his famous painting. The horse, a powerful motif in his art, symbolises the Sun of Power, Knowledge, and Freedom of Spirit in Indian mythology.
How many people know of his extraordinary idiosyncrasy of being completely BAREFOOT as he stepped out of his swanky Mercedes? I often wondered but never dared to ask him what would he do in cold freezing countries, how would he cope without shoes for heaven’s sake!
We all know he was inspired by Madhuri Dixit’s persona, (and who wouldn’t be smitten by gorgeous and superbly talented Madhuri) his favourite muse. He made many beautiful paintings of her and cast her in the film “GAJA GAMINI”.
Mr. Hussain was always followed by his admiring feminine fans, whose eyes riveted on him.”