Meenaxi: Tale of 3 cities screened at Cannes

Meenaxi: Tale of 3 cities screened at Cannes
CANNES (France) May 20 (AFP) A Bollywood film withdrawn from cinemas in India because of objections to a song raised by Islamic groups has been shown on the sidelines of the Cannes film festival, its screenwriter and co-director, Owais Husain, said today.

"Meenaxi: Tale of 3 Cities" was screened yesterday in the market section of the festival, a sprawling area in which production companies around the world show off hundreds of movies in the hopes of doing overseas deals.

Husain, a painter-turned-director who made the film with his father, told AFP he believed he was now on the point of signing distribution deals in the United States and Britain.

"Meenaxi", a tale about a writer's relationship with a self-involved perfume-seller, was withdrawn from Indian cinemas last month when Islamic groups led by the All India Muslim Council took exception to a line of a song in the movie that was inspired by a quote from the Koran.

"They misinterpreted some part of the film and called it blasphemous ... it was totally baseless," Husain said.

The part in question was a Koranic verse used to praise the beauty of the Prophet Mohammed, which the filmmakers had changed to describe the beauty of the leading lady, played by well-known Indian actress Tabu.

Husain said that, rather than try to argue with the groups, he preferred to withdraw the movie.

"I put a year and a half of my life into this movie," he said.

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