Eminent painter Jogen Chowdhury remembers Husain as a person with “simple needs”. “I visited him in Dubai a few years ago. He took us out for lunch and was very excited about our visit. He took us to his studio and showed us his works,he told us about the gallery he has opened there. There was a childlike enthusiasm about him,” says Chowdhury.
For Husain’s series on Bengali culture,Chowdhury was approached to design a special signature in the Bengali script for the painter. “Later,I saw him use that signa ture in a lot of paintings,” says Chowdhury.
Chowdhury was impressed by Husain’s love for Kolkata. “He had great respect for the artist community of Bengal. Kolkata was,in a way,a comfort zone for him,” says Chowdhury.
It was this very artist community of the state that rallied both for him and against him. “When he depicted Indira Gandhi as Devi Durga,we brought out processions against him. He respected us for that because he saw our point of view. When he was being targeted by Hindu fundamentalist groups for his Devi series of paintings,we brought out processions in support of him,” says veteran artist Shuvaprasanna.
He fondly remembered Kolkata as the city he ‘would love to visit’ even in his last days.