Meenaxi: Tale of 3 Cities (2004): Thought convergence exemplified

Happy birthday Imran Khan! And congratulations A. R. Rahman and my fellow Rahmaniacs on the Golden Globe Award. No one needs awards to validate quality, but this is a first for an Indian, which is what is to be celebrated most. This post, then, is dedicated to you, O Mozart of Madras. You've awed us with your brilliance since your very first Bollywood soundtrack (to Rangeela (1995)) and through the greatest movie ever made, and shall InshaAllah (God-willing) continue to do so for a very long time. Chale Chalo.

Few films are as effective at garnering participation and as easy to get lost in (you know, the kind that make us want to dive into the screen). The question of Meenaxi - A Tale of 3 Cities (2004) is not what the film is about. The question is: what do we want the film to be about? Therein lies ambiguity, but it doesn't take much to appreciate that thinking through the film leads to limitless possibilities. This is only one of the biggest strengths of the film directed by renowned (and controversial, to many of the Hindu and Muslim communities in India, but that is beyond the scope of this post) painter M. F. Hussain, written by him and his son Owais, and with music by A. R. Rahman.

Nawab (Raghuvir Yadav, a Lagaan (2001) alumnus) is a popular poet and writer in Hyderabad, which is where the film is based. At the (Mehndi) wedding ceremony of his sister, he runs into Meenaxi (lovely Tabu) and is mesmerized by her beauty (not more than I am, for the record ;). As he suffers from writers block, Meenaxi -- a mysterious perfume seller -- meets him again and encourages him to write a novel on her.


He hesitates but gives in to her insistence, and so begins the story of Meenaxi and Kameshwar Mathur (Kunal Kapoor in his debut). The real Mathur (as opposed to the character) is an auto repairman for the writer, and has good taste, as the poster in his make-believe workshop suggests!


The story is based in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, where Kameshwar falls head over heels in love with Meenaxi. A love triangle, it progresses with creative, eloquent and witty courtship (subtitles tend to simplify a lot)...


...until the real Meenaxi -- the one in Hyderabad -- loses interest and prompts Nawab to begin writing the novel again. This time, Nawab is part of the story. Meenaxi is Maria Zarkova, a waitress and playhouse actress in Prague in the Czech Republic, and Kameshwar a visitor from India. Their meeting leads to love at first sight. But there is more than meets the eye, as is later revealed.


Meanwhile, in Hyderabad, Nawab's health is failing him, and the novel is not near complete. Will Meenaxi stand by his side? Will he survive long enough to write to the finish? Will Kameshwar and Meenaxi ever unite outside the novel? How will the community react to Nawab's prolonged absence? Watch Meenaxi: Tale of 3 Cities to discover. Its climax leaves one bewildered but satiated, and surprised but awed at how well the scattered figments of imagination are integrated.

We keep talking of the juxtaposition of the elements, and here is a case in which the character development is brief but extremely effective, given the narrative arc. For a film on art and artists, aware of its inapplicability to the masses, the dialogue (often poetic and abstract but thoughtful) is extremely well aligned for the purpose, and only enhances the screenplay. There's something to be said of its quality when a film begins with the following:

Koi mile ke bichde, yahaan kis ko kya padi hai?
Sab log chal rahe hain, duniya yahin khadi hai.

Whether one unites or separates, who here cares?
Everyone keeps walking, it's the world that stands still.

The performances are top notch. Raghuvir Yadav is excellent as Nawab. I really liked his character and the modesty associated (or at least, portrayed) with it.


Aside: Margaret Thatcher had once said, "being powerful is like being a woman -- if you have to say you are, you aren't". Let's apply this framework to quality, and the next time we hear an actor say he is the best, let's please think about this!

Kunal Kapoor does much better than one expects from an actor in his debut film. But it is Tabu who has the most complex role, playing three characters with distinct personalities, looks, and accents, who is cast to perfection. The film revolves around her, and she delivers in an enchanting, bewitching and captivating (insert synonymous adjectives here, they all apply) fashion, as only she can.


Whether it's the individualistic mystery woman from Hyderabad, the collegial and confident social worker in Jaisalmer, or the orphaned actress struggling to make ends meet in Prague, watch her versatility shine through and only validate her standing as certainly one of the best actresses of her generation. Oh, and might I add that she looks absolutely stunning in each role?


The art direction (Sharmishta Roy) and cinematography (Santosh Sivan) are brilliant. This is yet another area where the film oozes class, but that was always expected. Trust few like M. F. Hussain to translate to his crew the angles and vivid color palettes he envisions as tangible output. The wardrobe and styling are excellent. I could certainly relate to the dialogue around the significance of the sherwanis (been wearing them since I was a child), and loved this piece of cloth, although I know I've put more work into this!


The streets and architectural elements of the cities are exquisitely captured, their grandeur and subtlety portrayed in equilibrium. The elements come alive as they seldom do on screen -- one can almost smell the biryani, paan or jalebi as they are presented. There's much more to the cinematography that I'd rather leave for you to discover.

Of course, the film knows its art better than most Hindi films ever will, given the crew. The quality of the visuals is captivating, and almost gives the appearance of the motion being a synthesis of stunning still images. There are even numerous allusions to renaissance art (yes, that's Tabu).


The background score and music (Rahman), lyrics (Rahat Indori and M.F. Hussain), and choreography (Ileana Chittaristi) are fantastic. Each of the cities gets songs specific to its culture and heritage. The common thread in the soundtrack is that each begins with a thought or asks a question, and some lead to a proposition following a breakdown of the case.


The album gives me three A. R. Rahman favorites among my top 20 of all time (and in my Rahmaniac arrogance, that is saying a lot). Here is one of them, with vocals by Reena Bharadwaj:



I'd include the video to the fantastic Rang Hai by Alka Yagnik if I could find it. Noor un ala Noor is as brilliant a qawwali as can be (and is also why this film was banned from theaters -- its lyrics test the fine line between love for God and love of woman, and I'll leave it there, since that's only one way to interpret the song). The other song I must highlight, not only for its sheer musical, lyrical, and vocal brilliance, but for its sentimental value, is Do Qadam Aur Sahih by Sonu Nigam.


A translation to this song -- a dialogue with life at the pinnacle -- is available in the second entry of this BollyWhat thread. Its integration in the film is segmented across junctures.

Here is one of my favorite drawings, the title inspired by the title to the song. It carried a different title before the release of the soundtrack to Meenaxi. Charcoal only and at six feet by four feet, I tell you it's as easy to get lost in the film as it is while drawing. Now, I haven't dared to draw Tabu yet, but that's not to say I shall not ;)

Meenaxi: Tale of 3 Cities has a lot to like. It knows its very specific target audience well and stays true to its premise throughout. Its few flaws (mostly, the pace of developments) are easy to overlook if we think along and are comfortable letting our imagination run wild while viewing (immersion is a prerequisite), which I've certainly had no issues with each time I've seen it.

It's dessert for the brain no matter how one looks at it, and an underrated film if there ever were one. A sensuous portrayal of the respect womanhood commands, and no less a celebration of words, sounds, colors, beauty (and perceptions thereof), love, life, and living. Like a poem or painting open to our interpretation, the film, its dialogue, facial expressions of its cast, and lyrics to its songs, are subject to our interpretation. This is how the Hindi film industry deserves to be represented more often!

Chances are you've heard little about it. If there is a part of you that enjoys abstract art (if the kind of art is not for you, you're probably better off staying away), you might just want to give this a chance. A masterpiece on the art of art and that of filmmaking, exemplifying thought convergence in nearly all facets, it is a journey well, well worth experiencing.

Movie rating: 4.25/5 (Excellent!)

Music rating: 4.5/5 (Excellent!)

My classification: PG-13

I've been doing this for Tabu to save her from the evil eye (beginning with mine).


M. F. Hussain had a film starring Madhuri Dixit (he's known to be more obsessed with her than I, and can continue with it; Tabu's MINE!) -- Gaja Gamini (2000) -- has anyone seen it?

43 comments:

Darshit said...

Ever since i started reading this post, only one sound was humming in my mind. 'noor un allah noor...'
Divine track indeed. Equally, my most fav is 'do qadam aur sahi' -superb picturization in white desert. With colorful kites. Again in 'Yeh rishta kya' - colors come alive in background of desert. And in 'chinamma chilkamma'-streets come alive.

Now I knew why u have put that colorful pic of Tabu in your title bar ! She is so so Gorgeous. And to break your heart, my friend is also a great great fan of Tabu that i had to fight with him to get my dvd of this movie back from him. LOL. And he also has MET HER ! Cause my friend is from south India. So he got to meet her at one shoot. And believe me, she is more gorgeous then she looks on screen.

Yes, this is an underrated one cause controvercies around it. But i loved it for its canvas.

Oh yes, i was lucky enough to watch Gajagamini, too. Hussain's facsination with Madhuri, worked like magic there. And Bhupen Hazarika gave comendable score. (not gr8 as this). But the movie is too too much abstract. I liked it. But not enjoyd much cause it was on TV, and pic quality was not excellent. I m searching 4 dvd in stores but cant find.

Darshit said...

Sorry, but as i m putting these comments through my mobile, i have to post another comment.

A special applause for your painting. Sheer work of art. Its as beautiful as your poetic words. Go on, waiting for your Tabu on canvas!

Bhargav Saikia said...

I loved the music of Meenaxi. One of Rahman's best work. And the movie was good too...very artistic stuff from MF Hussain. Small things make this film very special.

My blog: http://www.bhargavsaikia.com

shweta said...

I completely lost the movie once it moved scenarios to Prague- somehow Tabu in those dresses was just not a good idea. Otherwise, I loved the Tabu in Hyderabad, and the one in Rajsthan perhaps a little less so- its all about her of course, but Raghuvir Yadav did an amazing job- that man is capable of much much more.

memsaabstory said...

How funny, in tribute to Hizzoner Rahman I just posted my favorite fifteen songs (couldn't quite stop at 10) of his (but only one per movie, or I'd still be writing and searching YouTube)...but I included Chinnamma Chilakamma from this film, which I adore. And yes, all the songs in it are great. Saw the movie a while ago, and remember thinking that it would bear watching again.

:-)

theBollywoodFan said...

Darshit: Thanks! Noor un ala Noor is hard to forget, isn't it? It just stays in ones head, almost like Khwaja Mere Khwaja from Jodhaa Akbar. The picturizations were a definite strength throughout, absolutely.

Lucky friend of yours! I'm sure she must rock in person. I really should try harder to get Gajagamini, it's surely out there somewhere.

As for Tabu on canvas...now *that* will be an event! I haven't drawn in a long time. Wanted to do one over the holidays but ended up traveling again. So this might replace the initial project!

Bhargav: I think it definitely is among Rahman's finest, which is why the controversy surrounding the film made it a loss for fans of true art, because there are few who do justice to the music so beautifully. I'll look forward to checking out your blog!

Shweta: Isn't each from among the Lagaan XI just brilliant?! =) Okay, okay, seriously now, LOL...Raghuvir Yadav was just fanatastic. Also remember him doing well in 1947 Earth and Aaja Nachle. Here's to him getting some major roles in major films! He's certainly earned it.

I liked Tabu in Jaisalmer the most. As you say, her wardrobe in Prague was not the best, but hey, it's the novelist's fault! I really like how she (still in Prague) walked around with her bike (which she didn't know how to ride), for instance, just so she could look cool. Lovely!

Memsaab: I've liked it some more with every viewing. And I think it serves the purpose well when there's something new to appreciate with each viewing. Shall head over to your blog in a bit to check out your Rahman top 15, what a treat!

Rajesh said...

That's an unreal picture for 'Do kadam aur sahi'. 6x4, that's life size! Did you take it in some special light?

Shweta Mehrotra Gahlawat said...

But I do agree- the Lagaan XI are all gr8 guys- so underappreciated I swear. I am totally digging ur Tabu love!

The Bollywood Lover said...

I haven't watched the movie, so the only thing I can appreciate is the music. You have mentioned my favorite singer (Sonu Niigaam) after a long time! I was waiting for this. Thanks, the song is very touchy. I just love it.

Can you imagine an A.R. Rahman album without a Sonu Niigaam song?

Anonymous said...

After reading your review, I feel like seeing this movie - have heard about it but never seen it. I hope I am lucky to find it Down Under (we do get most movies on DVD but not sure about this).

Tabu is a Hyderabadi like me - that makes a special connection! She is indeed a very talented actress but not given due recognition by the commercial film makers. Her recent interviews show that she is disillusioned - commercial and masala film makers are not considering her for roles. She was very good in Kandokondein-2, Namesake, Virasaat, the movie for which she won the national award (forgetting the name) made by Gulzaar.

theBollywoodFan said...

Rajesh: It was a lot of fun to come up with it, and thank you for your comment! The picture was taken in ordinary white light. Only used black and white for the drawing, the gold brown tone is that of the paper.

Shweta: That they are! And the Tabu love has been there since my high school days (>= 1996), and I know it'll never diminish given she's been the benchmark ever since ;)

Saurabh: Sonu Nigam (didn't he switch back from Niigaam?) is undoubtedly one of the best vocalists of our time, and with Rahman, he has only provided fantastic songs. The song is beautiful, it's true power is only realized when listening in a home theater -- since you're a music learner, I'm sure you'll appreciate the output across multiple channels -- fantastic stuff! There have been some excellent Rahman albums without Sonu, though, e.g. Rangeela, Rang De Basanti and Lagaan!

theBollywoodFan said...

Anonymous: Welcome, and thank you for your comment from Down Under! I hope you find the DVD of this movie. If you're a Tabu fan, I'm certain you'll enjoy it. Oh, and especially if you're a Hyderabadi; the very first scene involves Charminar! I really enjoyed the films you mention, too. The film by Gulzaar was Maachis (1996). She also won the National Award for Chandni Bar (2001).

Tabu is not afraid to think for herself, and if that means she does few commercial films, so be it. As a long-time Aamir Khan fan, I am very comfortable with my favorite actor/actress not getting his/her due. They are not afraid to think, and to be vocal about what they feel strongly, and will therefore inherently gain opposition from the political forces that guide the industry dynamic, including a segment of fans who are, frankly, bandwagoners (they're better left to the populists). I think it's cool, from our (fan) perspective, to ignore the politics and gossip and look up to these actors' willingness to bring integrity to their profession. Ultimately, their products of film are what they are judged by, and in that, they are second to none.

Like you, however, I do hope Tabu doesn't exclusively relegate herself to non-commercial film. Meenaxi only validates that she can be as glamorous as any other actress out there. I think of another fine, fine actress (who's beautiful too), Nandita Das, in the same light. But look at the quality of their films and performances, and I wouldn't complain if they stick to what they're doing. They're just brilliant!

The Bollywood Lover said...

No, I don't think he switched back. At his official site, SonuNigam.in, his name is spelt as Niigaam. I don't think he needs to change his name (maybe according to the astrology?). And LOL, how did you know that I learn music?

theBollywoodFan said...

Ah, I see. I remember he had changed for astrological purposes. Have you listened to his relatively new album 'Rafi Resurrected'? It's amazing! Oh, and I think I read of your music learning efforts at Kanan's blog. That's great. Good luck!

Filmi Girl said...

I haven't seen this one so I'll wait to really dig into your review until I do - but the pictures and rating have inspired me to put it on my list!

(And congratulations, indeed, to A.R. Rahman! He's earned it!)

memsaabstory said...

Tabu really rocked it in Maqbool too :) She was unbelievable and it was an unbelievable film too.

theBollywoodFan said...

Filmi Girl: I think it's worth checking out and would definitely be interested to know your thoughts. Although it's arguably closer to art house cinema than most Bollywood films, and if you're not a fan of the genre, you might come away disappointed. Interestingly, there is a good enough case to be made using that masala checklist, so I might well be wrong, of course :)

Memsaab: Maqbool, of course! I've heard only good things about it. Shame on me for not having seen the adaptation of Macbeth. That will change soon.

pitu said...

Dayyum. I am dying to see this movie! It looks like total eye candy and Tabu wah wah! Has anyone looked as ravishing as she has in 'Ye Rishta kya kehlata hai'? Your review reminded me I need to go watch it :-D Interestingly, she is one of those rare actresses who always rises above the material. She was phenomenal in films like Maqbool/Kandukondain/Astitva/Chandni Bar and The Namesake but surprisingly, she managed to remain sane and normal in films like Vijaypath and Sajan Chale Sasural ;-D

Also, tere drawings awesome hain! Ek drawing Sultanji ka bhi banao, I command you!

pitu said...

Gahh! I hopped over to Netflix and I could save it to my queue but it's one of those 'release unknown' thingies :-p

Anonymous said...

Isn't Kunal Kapoor much younger than Tabu? o_0

Anonymous said...

Thanks I will look for Meenaxi in the local desi stores here ie Down Under!

Yes Tabu was good in Maqbool and also Cheeni Kum.

Pls do see Maqbool. I look forward to your review. There is one special scene where Tabu really stole the show. I will share that after you see the movie - no spoilers from my end.

BTW, both Slumdog Millionaire and Outsourced are excellent films - I really enjoyed. Memsaab has done a good review of both the films

Anonymous said...

sorry one more comment to add - Agree with your comments about Tabu and Aamir Khan not being afraid of speaking their minds. It is sad for the moviegoers when talented people like Tabu are not getting their due ie good roles in movies - whether commercial, masala or art. Other actors not getting their due include Gracey Singh (Lagaan, Munnabhai and Armaan), Manoj Bajpai, Abhay Deol (Socha Na tha, Ahista-2 and Lucky oye oye Lucky), Jimmy Shergill, Ria Sen to name a few

The Bollywood Lover said...

Thanks! Yeah, I listened to that album, it is truly amazing. Sonu has done much hard work to make his voice compatible to Rafi's songs. He has especially worked on his pitch. The album is a great dedication to Mohd. Rafi. And songs like Yeh Chand Sa Roshan Chehra make it a very good album. It'd have been better if they had included classical songs like Madhuban Mein Radhika. But still, I appreciate the efforts done by Sonu to sing Rafi's songs. And, will you review that album?

theBollywoodFan said...

Pitu: Hope you are able to get your hands on it. Consider it mandatory viewing if you're a fan of eye candy. Besides, the language is such that any true Pitustani will enjoy it! Tabu's great in 'Yeh Rishta...', and perhaps even better in 'Rang Hai', which I can't find online. Agree completely on her performances. Thank you for the kind words on the drawing. Trust ke Sultan to parakh hai ;) Not sure if you saw this. Do you have a vision for a piece?

Anonymous (assuming different persons): Kunal is about five years younger, which is an interesting point. Does/Should it make any difference? The age difference between me and Tabu is over 200% that between Kunal and her, and I don't think I'd have any issues =) If it doesn't matter one way, I'm not sure it should another. I'm certainly not advocating for an Amitabh-Tabu type collaboration, though, as in Cheeni Kum :)

Anonymous: I'll be getting Maqbool on my next trip out to the movie store! And thanks for the other recommendations. Memsaab's reviews are delightful, aren't they?

I agree on all the actors you've mentioned. All they've done is deliver one brilliant performance after another, and it's a shame when the industry cannot give them what they've earned. It's great Abhay Deol can go out and make his own films. Gracy Singh I will always love (as Gauri in Lagaan!) and hope for the best for!

Saurabh: The album is a treat, and I do agree on 'Madhuban Mein Radhika', which is my all-time favorite song. Sonu did have a version of that song in 'Kal Aur Aaj Ka Rafi' a few years ago, have you listened to it? I liked the music in Rafi Resurrected more, though. I'll try reviewing it some time, dekhte hain.

Saurabh said...

Kal, Aaj Aur Kal? Na! I haven't listened to that album (and I wonder why have I missed a Sonu album!). I will always appreciate something you do which is related to Sonu. All the best!

bollyviewer said...

Your take on Meenaxi is certainly a lot more forgiving than other reviews. Are you sure Tabu didnt blind you to the movie's faults? ;-) I havent seen this, but after watching Madhuri Fida Hussain's earlier effort (Gaj Gamini) I decided to stay away from any subsequent "masterpieces", though your review is tempting me to rethink that!

theBollywoodFan said...

Saurabh: 'Kal, Aaj, Aur Kal', right! See how I can make up my own titles? LOL It's a series of great albums, and there's no way you won't like it if you're a Sonu fan, go for it!

Bollyviewer! I'm usually the ideal audience for filmmakers. But absolutely positively convinced I'm not blinded by Tabu in my views on this film, (although the risk certainly exists -- you know me well, LOL -- which is why I saw it a few times after having seen it back when it released before writing about it). I'd like the content regardless, but I do think she's perfectly cast ;)

I haven't seen the one starring Madhuri, but if you didn't like it, from what I've read and heard about it, you might just want to skip this.

Thanks for the link to the Meenaxi review. I'd be flippant about it -- I think the film carries exactly the opposite of "lack of inspiration" or "lack of artistic common sense". These comments would originate from either lack of acknowledgement or lack of understanding! From the rest of the review, it certainly seems it's from the former.

And I do agree that "art is a mediation and must lead us somewhere", but can't abstract art be quite meaningless if the consumer is unwilling to toy around with the ideas put forth, and make it lead to somewhere? The reviewer knows that, of course, but the angles of criticism I disagree with. Interestingly enough, he/she is critical of Shabd as well, which I didn't dislike, so I think our concepts of art just don't align, which is fair :)

And ROTFL at 'Madhuri' Fida Hussain...I wonder if he thinks Tabu did Maqbool because of him :o)

bollyviewer said...

Sadly, I am not even slightly artistic. So, cant judge the artistic merits of either film! Gaja Gamini had lovely visuals but no drama, no masala and no humor and hence no appeal to me. Actually scratch that - lovely Madhuri is always appealing, but still... This one has an even better cast (Tabu, Kunal "Christ" Kapoor, and Raghuvir Yadav - what could be better?) so I should probably try to watch. I love Raghuvir Yadav - have you seen him in Massey Sahib (I think he got a national award for it)? He was awesome in a favorite DD serial of mine too - Mungeri Lal Ke Haseen Sapne. Sadly in movies he is always reduced to minor roles.

theBollywoodFan said...

Thanks for the Raghuvir Yadav recommendation, I'll definitely check it out! He is brilliant here, no kidding. The character of Nawab is easy to identify with (I think the researcher/academic in you will find him interesting -- I feel the power of words around tons of regulatory guidance right about now, LOL).

And oh dear Lord, that was HIM in Mungeri Lal Ke Haseen Sapne?! I don't remember much of the show (the theme song is stuck in my head, kaise yaad raha for all these years I don't know), but I do remember everyone really enjoying it, and I can definitely relate to a daydreamer, especially when discussing a Tabu film! ;)

Kunal 'Christ' Kapoor! :D

Interesting thought on being artistic (or not), although I like to think it's also a state of the mind. Seek and ye shall discover! ;) If not the visual, at least the audible and spoken. Having said that, if you're really not into art, you have been warned against Meenaxi!

Bhargav Saikia said...

Hey, I've added you to my Blog list (www.bhargavsaikia.com). Keep the posts coming! Cheers!

Bhargav.

theBollywoodFan said...

Thank you Bhargav, have done the same for your cool blog too. Cheers dude!

bollywoodfoodclub said...

LOL on "I've been doing this for Tabu to save her from the evil eye (beginning with mine)."

All the Best,
Sita-ji

Darshit said...

Oops...
Just now I figured this out...
You have put my blog under your fav list.
I am honoured...
;-) i also need to work out on my list...

theBollywoodFan said...

Adab Sita-ji: It's true! ;)

Darshit: Sure, man. You have a cool blog going! Keep it up!

Anonymous said...

Raghubir Yadav was very good in 1942 Love Story - VVC movie.

He was also brilliant in another movie - can't remember the name -but he plays a downtrodden character in the movie.

Joss said...

Must have overlooked this post earlier in the year, but re-routed to it now via your Rahman comments I realise it will have to go straight to the top of my must-see list. I too think Tabu is fantastic, but I also really admire Kunal Kapoor. He really caught my eye in Aaja Nachle, but I didn't realise till now that he was also Aslam in RDB. Likewise, Konkona Sen Sharma in AN was Mrs Iyer in the film of that name, and I didn't realise till well after I'd seen both films. That's got to be the mark of a good actor - you think there are two of them!

Not only that, Meenaxi also music by the maestro. What am I waiting for? Chale chalo! I'll let you know what I think.

theBollywoodFan said...

Anonymous: I haven't seen 1942 A Love Story in a long, long time (okay, since its release), and remember little. It's definitely due for a re-watch. Thanks for the note on Yadav!

Joss: Look no further! I'll look forward to discussing it with you. Indeed, the mark of a good actor is the assumption of distinct personalities per the roles. Konkona Sen seems to have no issues with this. And I hope Kunal Kapoor gets some other major films to his credit. He is quite talented too.

Hope all is well with you and yours, thanks for stopping by. Chale Chalo, love the term! ;)

Joss said...

It's going to take a while to get the movie as it's not available to rent. But I've just looked up all the links to the music on youtube ... and vaavaavaa!!! Fantastic! Absolutely love it. Especially Chinnamma Chilakamma. And it'll sound even better on a proper sound system too. Thanks for the tip, and keep them coming.

theBollywoodFan said...

Any time. It's got some powerful and memorable music, that's for sure. Cheers!

Tesoro said...

Well, since I got such a nice invitation to come in and comment, here I am :). And I am newly in love with "Meenaxi", so I'll add a few thoughts on it.

Amazing film overall, and I sure hope it was not intended to please mainstream movie goers. I want to keep this treasure for the select few that can appreciate all its beauty.

Don't boo me for this, but I am not a Tabu fan, at all. I can however appreciate a good film, and this happens to be one. She does look stunning though, and her pairing with Kunal Kapoor really worked for me. All the songs are spectacular. The cinematography flatters both actors to no end, while making sure the background is never second best. A difficult task.. :)

I'd like to hear more about the Noor-un-ala-Noor song as it is now my favourite song of the sondtrack. I'm afraid a non-Hindi speaker (or at the very best a beginner Hindi speaker) cannot quite discern all the nuances. I hadn't picked up on the controversial issue at all.

Back to the story. I found it beautifully woven, and the running theme of the relationship between the creator and his creation, how each gives strength to the other, while also each having the power to weaken or destroy the other. I liked the rapport that this film shows between writer/creator/author and creation, as a bilateral, symbiotic bond. Very post-modern. It is not just Nawab moulding Meenaxi, it is also Meenaxi creating herself and using her power over Nawab, as shown in the first climax scene where she is at his deathbed. To me that scene symbolizes the end of the road for the author as the character comes to life and no longer needs its creator. It is a celebration, rather than a mourning scene.

I could probably go on forever about this stunning piece of poetry in motion, but I'll stop here... So much to say, I could be here all day :)

Always a pleasure reading you, Bollywood Fan!

PS: Congratulations on your great taste in music, and Rahman soundtracks: Rangeela, RDB, Lagaan - all time favourites of mine too!

theBollywoodFan said...

Tesoro: Thank you for your visit and comment! I've been bowled over by the film too! You're right about it not being intended for the mainstream.

Don't boo me for this, but I am not a Tabu fan, at all.

Sorry, but...boo :P

Kidding, of course. No jokes with the Noor-un-ala-Noor song. The words in the title to the track are from the Quran, and the controversy surrounds the usage of terms that refer to Allah (God) and His Prophets, to a person. Now, there are many ways to interpret what's in the Quran, and that is beyond the scope of what we'd discuss here. But that, in a nutshell, was the issue.

Have you seen M. F. Hussain's Gaja Gamini (2000)? I agree with you on liking the control Meenaxi has over herself and others. That's what (along with Tabu!) makes me like Meenaxi a lot more.

Thank you once again for stopping by! Cheers!

maxqnz said...

Thanks for an interesting review. I still don't think I will actually "get" Meenaxi when I finally have time to watch it, but I'm sure it will be a visual feast.

Saqeena said...

Hii...

I just watched Meenaxi last weekend. I heard the songs first actually, since it's AR. Rahman. And I wonder how's the movie if the songs was this beautiful? so I look everywhere and finally find one & I LOVE it.

It's the kind of movie that surprised you, open layers by layers everytime you watched it over and over again.

Kunal acting are superb, though this is his 1st movie (CMIIW).

I got annoyed by Tabu at 1st, because she seems only care about her hair on the few early meeting Nawab scenes :p

Kunal & Tabu chemistry are developed well, now I'm a big fans of both. Can you suggest some movie for Kunal or Tabu Newbie fans like me? Thanks