The Week, July 2011
The passing away of MF Hussain marks the end of an era of a monumental chapter of Indian Art. The world of painting and the artist community will always miss him no end. Though he died in London, I am sure that the Indian people and the Government of India will create a beautiful memorial in India as a tribute to a legendary artist.

I have known Hussain Saheb, as I called him, for the last four decades. On several occasions he attended my concerts especially in Mumbai and Delhi. I remember in the year 1991 in London we had a collaboration concert conceived by my dear friend Mr. Sam Bhadha at 51 Buckingham Gate. It was a very distinguished audience and it took place in a beautiful ambiance. The canvas of Hussain saheb placed on was on my left side of the stage. I started with the traditional Raga Malkauns which is a pentatonic Raga (a Raga with Five notes). Hussain saheb was seated in the front row and after ten minutes walked towards the canvas. His canvas was also facing the audience so I could not see what he was painting. As my tempo increased I could hear the sound of his movements of the brush. After the concert I went up to his canvas and saw the most beautiful piece of art with vibrant colours. I felt he transcended the idea of five musical notes of Malkauns and painted Lord Krishna with four Gopis. That painting was auctioned after the concert fetched a lot of money for a Museum in London.

The second joint venture took place agin in London in 1994 where Hussain Saheb was to be joined by his son, Shamshad Hussain and daughter Raisa Hussain while I would play along side Amaan and Ayaan. Unfortunately Hussain Saheb fractured his leg and we had to hold the event without his presence. Mr. Amitabh Bachchan who was present in London fr that event very graciously recited verses from Madhushala, his father’s iconic poem.

Over the years, we kept meeting at airports, social get-togethers, dinners etc. I am amazed to realize how he could maintain the old world culture with the contemporary world. As an artist, the kind of rapport and relationship he maintained with people of all ages all over the world was truly amazing. In a typical old world culture manner he would drop in un announced because he was passing by. Now a bygone aspect of human relations! I would always say that it’s a great honour and pleasure and it is your right to drop by as and when you feels like coming, He was so kind and gracious that he offered to paint all our walls to which my wife could not make up her mind and lost the golden opportunity!

More recently, for Ayaan’s wedding I had requested Hussain Saheb to create a card; some how we lost the communication and one month before the wedding we all went to Dubai to perform, Hussain Saheb was in audience and after concert he gave a wondrous painting meant for the wedding card. On his invitation, next day we visited his beautifully done up home in Dubai. He showed us his spectacular latest work inspired by the cult film Mughal-E-Azam. This was indeed the last time I met him. Its really sad he had to emotionally suffer and live in exile in his last years. , I wish he was preserved the way Picasso is preserved in his own country.