At that time, painting was genteel, and not meant to hurt; it was a part of being ‘cultured’. But pioneers such as art critic Karl Khandalawala and painters like Souza, Gaitonde, Raza and M.F. Husain changed all that. We were inspired as much by the Modern Art of the West as by the rediscovery of ancient Indian art—the sculptures of Mathura and Khajuraho.
Crore contact: M.F. Husain admires a Madhuri cutout
Things have changed much since then. At the time, one of my paintings was sold for Rs 250. Another painting, which I gave to the person who used to file my tax returns, was recently auctioned at Sotheby’s for Rs 1 crore! It took a lot of work for Indian art to get where it is now, and a lot of self-reflection and criticism. Now everybody just wants to talk about their souls and get certification from the big auction houses.