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Meenaxi Review

Meenaxi Review
Banner:
NULL
Cast:
Kunal Kapoor, Tabu, Raghuvir Yadav, Nadira Babbar, Sharat Saxena, Bharat Kapoor, Sagar Arya
Direction:
MF. Hussain
Production:
NULL
Music:
NULL

Meenaxi

IndiaGlitz [Friday, April 23, 2004 • Hindi] Comments

Painter M.F. Husain's second directorial venture "Meenaxi: Tale of 3 Cities" dwells on the ageless debate over the intricate relationship between the creator and his creation, the artiste and his art, and the painter and his brush.

Flitting across three time zones, the film takes the viewer through its basic debate on art, life and illusion, transporting Husain's vision into the realm of poetry.

Somewhere in the middle of this seamless tale Tabu, playing an elusive creature of fugitive desires in Jaisalmer, steals into Kunal's haveli on tiptoe with the express intention of making her feelings manifest.

But Kunal (played by a refreshingly natural, non-iron-pumping Kunnal Kapoor) is shy and apprehensive.

"You here at this time of the night?" he looks uneasily over his shoulder. And Meenaxi's face falls.

The scene where the woman, at the risk of her own reputation, steals into the arms of passion, seems like M.F. Husain's tribute to the immortal "Devdas".

As far as Meenaxi is concerned it's the end of love. But for the author Nawab, played by Raghuvir Yadav, it's the cue for a new beginning.

He can now take his heroine into another dimension, another continent, another chance for Tabu to showcase her enchanting enigma.

Between the brush and the brush-stroke of "Meenaxi: A Tale Of 3 Cities", there lies a universe of feelings and emotions, many inexpressible, almost as elusive as Tabu's eyes which wander beyond the flaming frames of the screen to gaze at the very essence of love and existence.

The first of the three Tabus who colonise M.F. Husain's tale of three cities is a perfume seller in Hyderabad.

As Santosh Sivan dodges autorickshaws and commuters in the cluttered Hyderabad to zero in on Meenaxi, the camera becomes the conscience of Nawab, the author searching for the perfect heroine for his next novel.

Perfection being the grandest illusion of art and life, Nawab finds Meenaxi, the wily, pushy, slightly crude but deliciously seductive ittar seller.

It's in the way that Husain looks for imperfection in art that "Meenaxi" shines way beyond his earlier somewhat scrambled stab at direction in "Gaja Gamini".

Tabu may not be as graceful and nimble-footed as Madhuri Dixit. But she carries the weight of the film's basic debate on art, life and illusion with a fertile facility.

The film's three segments are not mutually exclusive in the way of, say Raj Kapoor's "Mera Naam Joker". Characters overlap, collide and coalesce to the point where borders between feeling and manifestation, thought and expression seem to become joined in the dance of life.

Deliberately, M.F. Husain makes his characters talk in an unusually loud voice.

In one sequence he personally appears at a Irani restaurant and winces the minute the first Tabu, the ittar-seller, opens her mouth to nag the writer Nawab.

Her raging passion to alchemise her ordinary life into art through Nawab's pen is also every artiste's craving for immortality through his art.

It's that craving which comes across in Tabu's remarkable presence. To call it a performance would be belittling what Husain and she have set out to achieve in the frames.

As Tabu travels from one time zone to another she transports us to another world where 'maya' (illusion) seduces and caresses reality. True, her Czech accent in the last overture is strained.

But then, this is a film of heightened realism where the characters are

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