India Masala

Bollywood and culture in an emerging India

An encounter with M.F. Husain

June 9, 2011

I met Maqbool Fida Husain a little over three years ago in London, ironically the same city where he breathed his last on Thursday.

He was one of the VIP attendees at a film awards function that I was covering, and having never spoken to him before, I wasn’t sure if he would agree to an interview.

I approached him hesitatingly, identifying myself and the news organisation I represented at the time, but he gave me a warm smile, offered me a chair and chatted for more than 15 minutes.

I remember Husain was very angry at veteran film director Yash Chopra, who he blamed for “ruining” Madhuri Dixit’s comeback in the film “Aaja Nachle”.

“A star like Madhuri didn’t deserve to make a comeback in a film like that,” he told me then.

Husain expressed his desire to come back to India and I remember him saying one day he hoped to be back.

Did he miss his motherland, I asked.

“Actually, I don’t. Simply because, you cannot miss something that is always in your heart — India is always in my thoughts, it is always in my heart, and it is in my art, so where is the question of missing it?” he said.

As we mourn the loss of this great artist, we could say the same about him.

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