Bollywood is sad. And furious. The stars who admired and worked with legendary artist MF Husain, who died of a heart attack in London early on Thursday, are livid that the country meted out such treatment to him that he could not come back to India before breathing his last.
“The last we met, he escorted me till the Dubai airport as I prepared to return, and said, ‘I can only drop you till here.’ Coming back to India was his dream unfulfilled,” said one of his muses, actor Amrita Rao. “Apologies for the lack of understanding your home country showed you,” tweeted singer-composer Vishal Dadlani.
Husain, 95, left India in 2006 after he courted controversy regarding his artworks depicting Hindu Goddesses. He had vowed never to return, and never did. The artist spent the last five years in Dubai and London, and was offered citizenship by Qatar in January last year. His family has said that his last rites, too, will be conducted not in India, but in London.
Some hope heaven frees him of all the humiliation he was facing. “May ur soul RIP far away frm the insanities of this cruel world (sic),” tweeted actor-singer Sophie Choudry. “We hang our heads partly in grief and partly in shame for not being able to let him spend his last days in this country,” said actor Rahul Bose. Actor Anant Narrayan tweeted, “Shame on the intolerant elements of our rather tolerant society that kept him away from his home.”
Rakesh Nath, who produced Husain-directed Gaja Gamini starring Madhuri Dixit and Shah Rukh Khan, said, “It’s a shameful loss.”
India did not want him
On January 22, we reported that Husain’s works were pulled out of the India Art Summit in Delhi due to threats. His son Shamshad Husain had said, “How can he ever come back to India? No one from the ministry has uttered a word to welcome him back. If he comes, they will kill him.”
I am shocked and deeply saddened. I have great memories of working with him, he was more than a mentor — Madhuri Dixit Nene
He escorted me till the Dubai airport and said, ‘I can only drop you till here.’ It was a dream unfulfilled- Amrita Rao
May his soul rest in peace. I will always cherish the fact that he wanted to make a film with me - Vidya Balan
I was his last muse ... that’s an honour. I had spoken to him two months ago, and was to meet him this year — Anushka Sharma