Veteran actress Saira Banu paid a heartfelt tribute to the celebrated painter M.F. Husain, Maqbool Fida Husain, on his birth anniversary on Sunday. Saira Banu revealed that M.F. Husain was a “dear friend and admirer” of her husband, the legendary Dilip Kumar. Saira Banu, known for her elaborate notes on Instagram, also recalled the time when M.F. Husain visited her husband. “Once Sahib [Dilip Kumar] had a high fever, and Mr Husain and Mrs Bakul Rajni Patel visited, they sat by his bedside, and suddenly, Mr Husain pulled out a drawing paper and started sketching a portrait of Sahib [Dilip Kumar]. I always treasure that sketch.”
Saira Banu, in her caption, wrote, “Maqbool Fida Husain 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. Husain’s visits to our home. Once Sahib [Dilip Kumar] had a high fever, and Mr. Husain and Mrs. Bakul Rajni Patel visited, they sat by his bedside, and suddenly, Mr. Husain pulled out a drawing paper and started sketching a portrait of Sahib [Dilip Kumar]. I always treasure that sketch. Next time he [M.F. Husain] 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.”
Talking about M.F. Husain’s brilliant artwork, she continued: “Mr. Husain, a Padmashri, Padma Bhushan, and Padma Vibhushan, 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. I proudly remember that he had declared that “Pari Chehra” Naseem Banu’s [Saira Banu’s mother] face was the most beautiful that he ever painted. ‘Five Horses’ by Mr. Husain 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.”
Saira Banu also revealed M.F. Husain’s “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,” she quipped.
Madhuri Dixit was M.F. Husain’s “favourite muse”, according to Saira Banu. “We all know he was inspired by Madhuri Dixit’s persona, (and who wouldn’t be smitten by gorgeous and superbly talented Madhuri [Dixit]) his favourite muse. He made many beautiful paintings of her and cast her in the film Gaja Gamini,” she added. Bonus? Saira Banu shared a video of M.F. Husain, Madhuri Dixit and her husband, doctor Dr Shriram Nene, clicked at an art gallery.
“Mr Husain was always followed by his admiring feminine fans, whose eyes riveted on him,” Saira Banu signed off.
M.F. Husain died on June 9, 2011, in London’s Royal Brompton Hospital.