Hussain was born in a Sulaymani Bohra family on 17 Sep 1917 at a place called Pandharpur in Maharashtra.
Hussain studied at a Madraasa in Baroda. It is here that he developed interest in art and learnt calligraphy.
Hussain though did self-study.
During his initial days in Mumbai he painted cinema posters as well as worked in a toy manufacturing company where he designed toys.
• Hussains first solo exhibit of his art held at Zurich in the year 1952.
• Later on his first exhibit in USA was held at India House in New York in the year 1964.
• In the year 1967, he made his first film Through The Eyes of a Painter. This film was shown at the Berlin International Film Festival and won Golden Bear Short Film Award.
• In the year 1971, Hussain was a special invitee along with Pablo Picasso at Sao Paulo Biennial (Brazil) in 1971.
• In the year 1973, Hussain was awarded with Padma Bhushan.
• In the year 1986, he was nominated to the Rajya Sabha.
• He was awarded Padma Vibhushan in the year 1991.
• In the year 2010, he was named as one of the 500 most influential Muslims by the Jordanian Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Centre.
Hussain as a Filmmaker
Hussain directed and produced various movies that included the following:
• Gaja Gamini in the year 2000 starring Madhuri Dixit (Hussain was a great fan of Madhuri Dixit). He devoted various paintings to Madhuri Dixit and his subject of these paintings was the actress herself.
• Meenaxi: A Tale of Three Cities starring Tabu. The movie was removed from various movie halls as the Muslims raised objections to one of the songs in it.
Hussain in Exile
There were innumerable lawsuits against Hussain for portraying obscenity in his paintings against Hindu Gods and Goddesses. Thus, he remained in self-imposed exile for a very long time i.e. from 2006 till his death. He mostly lived in Doha and London.
In the year 2010, he was given Qatari Nationality and thus he surrendered his Indian Passport. But, he had a strong desire to return to India before his death, but unfortunately that did not happen.
His work in Qatar
In Qatar, he worked on two major projects i.e. one on the history of Arab Civiliaztion and the other on history of Indian civilization. These works were to be housed in a museum in Doha.
Hussain died at the grand old age of 92 years due to a heart attack on 9 June 2011. He died at the Royal Brompton Hospital in London. On 10 June 2011 he was buried at Brookwood Cemetery.