Home Entertainment 20 Years of Meenaxi: M F Husain’s directorial venture was distributed by Yash Raj Films; was abruptly pulled out of cinemas after its song ‘hurt religious sentiments’ 20 : Bollywood News – Global Prabhat

20 Years of Meenaxi: M F Husain’s directorial venture was distributed by Yash Raj Films; was abruptly pulled out of cinemas after its song ‘hurt religious sentiments’ 20 : Bollywood News – Global Prabhat

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20 Years of Meenaxi: M F Husain’s directorial venture was distributed by Yash Raj Films; was abruptly pulled out of cinemas after its song ‘hurt religious sentiments’ 20 : Bollywood News – Global Prabhat

The artistic film, Meenaxi, completed 20 years today on April 2. It marked the debut of Kunal Kapoor, and this means that the dashing actor also completes two decades in the industry as an actor. The film starred Tabu in the lead role with Raghubir Yadav also playing a significant character. While it got critical acclaim, the general audience found the film quite confusing. Nevertheless, the film is memorable for its soulful and chartbuster songs, be it ‘Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai’‘Chinnamma Chilakkamma’ etc. However, the film also got into trouble due to one of its songs. The matter disturbed director and acclaimed painter M F Husain so much that he discontinued the screening of Meenaxi in theatres across the country.

20 Years of Meenaxi M F Husain’s directorial venture was distributed by Yash Raj Films; was abruptly pulled out of cinemas after its song ‘hurt religious sentiments’

20 Years of Meenaxi: M F Husain’s directorial venture was distributed by Yash Raj Films; was abruptly pulled out of cinemas after its song ‘hurt religious sentiments’

More than 10 days after the release of the film, the All-India Ulema Council demanded an immediate ban on the song ‘Noor-Un-Ala-Noor’. The organization was supported by the Milli Council, the All-India Muslim Council, Raza Academy, Jamiat-ul-Ulema-e-Hind and Jamat-e-Islami, who claimed the song had hurt the sentiments of Muslims. They explained their grouse in a statement, “The song, picturised on Tabu (the female lead), contains words that are directly lifted from the Quran. In the Quran, these words are used to define the persona of the Prophet. But in Husain’s film, they are being used to depict the physical beauty of the heroine.”

M F Husain was distraught by this row. Hence, on April 15, he decided to pull out Meenaxi from theatres all over India. This means that the movie only had a two-week run in cinemas.

A Times Of India article on April 17 or 18 reported how certain moviegoers were upset when they learned that the film had been discontinued. Those were the days when ticketing apps were non-existent and news also didn’t travel as quickly. Hence, many of them turned up at Regal Cinema, Mumbai only to learn that the film is no longer running.

Interestingly, Meenaxi was distributed by Yash Raj Films. M F Husain at that point said, “I have told my distributor Yash Chopra to withdraw the film from public shows around the country immediately. Since I have not sold the film [which has been directed and produced by Husain] to anyone, including Chopra, I would like to stop the screening.” He further said, “I did not make the film for money.”

This decision shocked even those who raised the objection. Sohail Rokaria of the Raza Academy told The Telegraph, “We requested only for the removal of these words. We made it clear we didn’t want a ban on the film. We are very surprised as to why Husain did it.”

20 Years of Meenaxi M F Husain’s directorial venture was distributed by Yash Raj Films; was abruptly pulled out of cinemas after its song ‘hurt religious sentiments’

More than a month after this episode, Meenaxi was shown uncut at the 57th Cannes Film Festival. At that time, M F Husain spoke about the song to The Telegraph saying, “I was in Chennai. A R Rahman was composing the qawaali but wasn’t satisfied with the words that had been written. He felt that the word ishq had been overused. I said I would write the words instead. Some days later I was in hospital for an ailment. I was lying on the bed before the break of morning when the words came to me which expressed the kindness of the Lord whose glow and presence is within us all. The qawaali is exultant about the presence of the light and what a light it is! It is a Sufi thought, a thought that keeps us going even when there is pitch darkness.”

M F Husain also denied the allegations that the words, found offending, were in praise of Tabu, saying they were intended at a higher, more ethereal level. He further clarified that there had been no intention to offend.

This was the second and last film made by M F Husain. He passed away on June 9, 2011 at the age of 95.

More Pages: Meenaxi Box Office Collection , Meenaxi Movie Review

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