Meenaxi: A Tale of Three Cities

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Meenaxi: Tale of Three Cities
Directed byM. F. Husain
Written byOwais Husain
M. F. Husain
Produced byReima Husain
Kunal Kapoor
Raghuvir Yadav
CinematographySantosh Sivan
Edited bySreekar Prasad
Music byA. R. Rahman
Distributed byYash Raj Films[1]
Release date
  • 2 April 2004 (2004-04-02)

Meenaxi: A Tale of Three Cities (or Meenaxi) is a 2004 Indian Hindi musical drama film directed by M. F. Husain and starring Tabu, Kunal Kapoor and Raghuvir Yadav. The film is centered on Hyderabad novelist Nawab (Yadav) who is suffering from writer's block. After five years and no stories, Nawab comes across an unconventional muse, Meenaxi (Tabu). The three cities referred to in the title are Hyderabad, Jaisalmer and Prague. The film features an acclaimed score and soundtrack by A.R. Rahman.

It is semi-autobiographical in some respects. There are allusions to Husain's own experiences with his muse, Madhuri Dixit, with whom he made his previous film, Gaja Gamini (2000).[2] The film was screened in the Marché du Film section of the 2005 Cannes Film Festival.[3]


Nawab, a popular Hyderabadi novelist, is suffering from a classic case of writer's block. Five years have passed, and stories of substance seem to have dried up. Then, almost providentially, Nawab comes across a young woman named Meenaxi. She's enigmatic and individualistic – and not quite willing to perform the part of a passive muse. But that doesn't deter a rejuvenated Nawab from giving her different personae – she can be the mysterious perfume trader of Hyderabad, the exotic desert bloom of Jaisalmer or the orphaned Maria of Prague. Inexorably, she consolidates her command over the novelist. She dismisses his renewed attempts at writing as insubstantial and hackneyed, plunging him into a state of deeper despair. She is scathingly critical about his story and is amused by one of his characters, the lovelorn and awkward Kameshwar. Finally, as Nawab strives on a new page all over again, Meenaxi comments that perhaps the book is in vain. In any case, it is much too late. The writer must survive and live, if he can, without her support, inspiration and criticism.



Meenaxi: A Tale of Three Cities
Soundtrack album by
Released24 January 2004 (India)
RecordedPanchathan Record Inn
LabelSony BMG
ProducerA. R. Rahman
A. R. Rahman chronology
Lakeer – Forbidden Lines
Meenaxi: A Tale of Three Cities

A. R. Rahman composed the music on lyrics written by Rahat Indori, M. F. Husain, and Sukhwinder Singh. The music for Meenaxi was released on 24 January 2004 creating great controversies regarding the song "Noor-Un-Ala" which had lyrics directly adapted from the Quran.[4][5]

"Do Kadam" is sung by Sonu Nigam with lyrics provided by Rahat Indori. Planetbollywood referred to this song as the best from Sonu Nigam.[6] The song "Noor-Un-Ala-Noor" is a Sufi style song sung by Murtaza Khan and Qadir Khan, together called Khan brothers. Lyrics for the song were by M. F. Hussain which slightly adapted the Quranic verses honouring Allah to honour the lead character Meenaxi.[4][5]

The audio was released on 24 January 2004 creating controversy regarding the song "Noor-Un-Ala" which had lyrics directly taken from the Quran.[4][5] The film was pulled from cinemas a day after some Muslim organisations raised objections to the song.[7]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Planet Bollywood[8]
Bollywood Hungama[10]

Track listing[edit]

Track # Song Singer(s) Lyrics Length Notes
1 "Yeh Rishta" Reena Bhardwaj Rahat Indori 4:40 Strings by John Themis
Reused in Sakkarakatti as "Naan Eppodhu"
2 "Chinnamma Chilakkamma" Sukhwinder Singh Sukhwinder Singh 5:45 Reused in Sakkarakatti as "Chinnamma Chilakkamma".

Partly sung in Telugu

3 "Do Kadam" Sonu Nigam Rahat Indori 5:58 Strings by Rashid Ali
Flute by Naveen Kumar
4 "Dhuan Dhuan" Asha Bhosle Rahat Indori 5:42 Additional vocals by Kunal Ganjawala
Percussions by Sivamani
Additional Grooves by James Asher
5 "Rang Hai" Alka Yagnik Rahat Indori 5:21 Additional Vocals by Dallinda
Percussions by Hossam Ramzy
6 "Noor-Un-Ala-Noor" Murtuza Khan, Qadir Khan M. F. Husain 6:55
7 "Cyclist's Rhythm" Instrumental 3:01 Percussions by Sivamani
Flute by Naveen Kumar
8 "Potter's Village" Instrumental 2:28 Percussions by Hossam Ramzy
Strings by John Themis


Ronjita Kulkarni of called the film ″poetry in colour″, she also praised Tabu's performance, writing, ″Tabu is brilliant. The way she teases the two men in the film is spectacular. She is aided, of course, by Husain's knack of presenting his women beautifully, like he did to Madhuri Dixit in Gaja Gamini.″[11] Derek Elley of Variety wrote ″Painter-cum-filmmaker M.F. Husain lets palette take precedence over plotting in “Meenaxi: Tale of 3 Cities,” a beautifully lensed tale of a writer bewitched by a female muse that desperately needs a more solid script. An artier, free-form take on Bollywood formulae, this showcase for actress Tabu (niece of veteran thesp Shabana Azmi) could find a niche offshore on the strength of its visuals and the varied score by composer du jour A.R. Rahman, though wider dissemination will be on ancillary.″[12] Manish Gajjar of wrote that the film ″will appeal to those who appreciate art. It is definitely not one of your run of the mill Bollywood's masala films.″[13]



  1. ^ "Film Distribution Company - Movie Distributors in Theaters". Yash Raj Films. Archived from the original on 17 June 2022. Retrieved 15 April 2022.
  2. ^ thrki (21 March 2004). "Cinematic vision". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 29 June 2004. Retrieved 22 August 2023.
  3. ^ "Meenaxi: Tale of 3 cities screened at Cannes". Archived from the original on 23 October 2014. Retrieved 18 October 2014.
  4. ^ a b c "Why controversy dogs MF Husain - Movies News News - IBNLive". Archived from the original on 18 June 2011. Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  5. ^ a b c "[nukkad] Meeinaxi's noor un ala noor offensive to Islam????". Archived from the original on 23 August 2004.
  6. ^ "Do Kadam, The best from Sony Nigam". Archived from the original on 17 May 2012. Retrieved 5 June 2012.
  7. ^ "Husain pulls Meenaxi out of theatres". Archived from the original on 24 March 2023. Retrieved 5 June 2012.
  8. ^ "Planet Bollywood review". Archived from the original on 17 May 2012. Retrieved 5 June 2012.
  9. ^ "Smashits review". Archived from the original on 29 February 2012. Retrieved 5 June 2012.
  10. ^ "Meenaxi : Music Review by Joginder Tuteja". Bollywood Hungama. 3 February 2004. Archived from the original on 29 May 2009. Retrieved 22 August 2023.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  11. ^ Kulkarni, Ronjita (1 April 2004). "Tabu is GLORIOUS!". Rediff. Archived from the original on 31 July 2023. Retrieved 22 August 2023.
  12. ^ Elley, Derek (5 June 2004). "Meenaxi: Tale of 3 Cities". Archived from the original on 10 June 2015. Retrieved 22 August 2023.
  13. ^ Gajjar, Manish (14 December 2004). "BBC - Shropshire - Bollywood - Meenaxi Review". Archived from the original on 14 December 2004. Retrieved 22 August 2023.
  14. ^ "51st National Film Awards" (PDF). Directorate of Film Festivals. Archived (PDF) from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 3 November 2014.

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