I must admit that I have no excuses for my long absence. A year and eight months is the longest I have ever stayed without posting. If I hadn’t suffered from trigger fingers, I would have posted every day. And then there was a long silence…
Okay, jokes apart, to begin with I couldn’t continue without mentioning about the most memorable event that took place in my life. My wife and I have, Oh no, you all thought wrong! I couldn’t imagine my life without her, now that we have become proud parents. Yes, I’m a dad! Thank you! Thank you!
On 5th March, 2011, at 12:10 pm, my wife gave birth to a boy at Samitivej Hospital, Bangkok. Seven days later, we named him Taqi, meaning piety.
I still remember as I walked into the operation theatre in a bluish scrub with a nurse, everything went slo-mo. Slowly, all the ambience sound faded. On my right, I saw doctors operating on my wife. The nurse then led me to my little boy who was being cleaned up at further upfront. Thank God I managed to brush off all the pages of WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU’RE EXPECTING. Otherwise I would have Kung-Fu slammed all the doctors on the spot. That was downright inhuman to hang my boy by his feet. Just kidding and I don’t even know Kung-Fu.
Taqi was crying at the top of his lungs, but the sound of his cry was completely muffled, as always happened in slo-mo. To see him for the first time was a moment to behold. Extreme close-up shots of him slowly cut before my eyes. Probably Michael Bay was supervising the editing. Then I turned to my wife when she whispered my name couple of times. She asked me how our boy was. I couldn’t speak. I was speechless completely. All I did was doing a thumb up at her. She smiled.
After doing everything they were doing including cutting the rest of the umbilical cord, the doctors then presented me my boy all wrapped up in a white swaddle. Oh my, he was as light as a feather! I always had difficulty in carrying a newborn since I couldn’t adjust to the zero weight feeling. But with him, everything was instinctive. I looked at him up close. He was the cutest living being I have ever witnessed.
I then took Taqi to my wife. She held him tenderly. More tenderly than I was holding him. Remarkably, he stopped crying. Then it was our turn to cry as we couldn’t hold our tears. But we were crying for joy. This scene would have given a grin to any film director cashing on movies with any number of handkerchiefs.
For the sake of this post not running into hundred or more pages and not giving me trigger fingers for real, I fast forward to eighteen months later, to present day. In a nutshell, every second we’ve been spending with Taqi is both memorable and heavenly. Fade out and end credits roll. With such an ending, I think those directors I just mentioned must be having second thoughts on grinning.
Though I have been stuck in my disappearing act for an awfully long period, best thing about this post is, even after several months without publishing any, it still feels like as if I had published my last post only few days back. Around the time of my last posts, I was heavily involved in the post-production of INGILI (FINGER) I think. And the good news is that I still am. Yes, you all have every reason to frown. INGILI which started production on 17th May 2009 is still under post-production. The film has gone through production hell with shooting going over schedule and now a hellish post-production. However, WATANIYA has become our telecom partner and we have decided on a release date which is either early November or mid December. Yet these dates could change depending on the re-opening date of Olympus after renovation which has been changing a lot as well. This is one of those instances where change is not so very good.
The reason for this extremely long delay in releasing INGILI is manifold. Firstly, the production team was discouraged knowing that the original short story we acquired, on which I based the screenplay was a rip-off of the fourth segment of 1995 released FOUR ROOMS. For a real movie buff who boasts on watching every Quentin Tarantino movie released so far, this was a major embarrassment. A man accepts a bet. He has to strike his lighter ten times or else, well, you’ve guessed it right but I’m not going to give away any spoilers here!
Secondly, the production looked rushed in the final edit. But it’s okay considering that this was an experimental movie. Most probably the mentioned rush was also part of the experiment.
Third reason happened to be the most current one. Composing music is in a fix due to several sub-reasons facing who else but the composer himself. But he’s confirmed that within few days, music will be completed. So for all these reasons and all other reasons that I couldn’t mention here, I’m beginning to feel that this film has already given a finger of its own at its producers, which includes poor me.
Before I continue with the updates of my other notable projects, I think I should mention that I won the best original screenplay for SAZAA (PUNISHMENT) at the ENCHANTEUR MALDIVES FILM AWARDS 2012 which was held in early July. Is that a round of applause I’m hearing or is it just the hard rain falling outside my apartment right now? Anyway, as usual I stayed myself away from the function. Yes, stage fright has consumed me completely, only my right ear is intact now.
MIKOE BAPPA BAEY BAEY (COME MY BABY’S FATHER) the screenplay which I re-outlined and re-wrote as a feature film after acquiring all the rights from a screenplay written as a short film by AHMED RASHEED, owner of LAAMU FONADHOO based studio MANDHEYRA PRODUCTION, was proposed to several high profile producers. Unfortunately, they all declined. They still couldn’t put faith on a film with a concept of two actors at one location. And how could they? If only INGILI was released and made rave reviews and made back its production cost, at least.
However, earlier this year DARK RAIN ENTERTAINMENT (DRE) honcho, MOHAMED ALI aka MOGRE decided to take the risk of producing it. And we came to a great understanding of sharing the spoils as RAVI and I waived our fees for all of our work. This is the second installment to an unrelated trilogy to the concept of two characters at one location which started off with INGILI even though the latter is yet to be released.
As mutually agreed in the development of this trilogy between RAVI and me, once again he stepped on to direct. Shooting was wrapped up in thirteen days. Renowned cinematographer ALI SHIFAU aka CHIPPE lensed from a Canon D60. Yes, if we could release this film as planned on October, this will be the first Dhivehi film to be shot entirely with a DSLR. I haven’t heard any other film in production or post-production being shot with a DSLR. Goody! Goody!
AISHATH RISHMY and MOHAMED MANIK were cast in the lead. The film is in post-production now. Final cut has been made including dubbing and currently CGI work is on-going under the supervision of SHINAAN who is also the CGI supervisor for DRE’s upcoming FATHIHANDHUVARUGE FESHUN 3D. Yes, this film has couple of CGI shots thrown here and there. Hopefully next week, the official first trailer will be released on FILMEE UDHARES. So stay tuned!
Then there’s INDHIRAAS (DECADENCE) which started its production promisingly around June this year. However, not even half way through into principal photography, the production turned out like its title, which loomed into a decadence of its own. The production of this film is currently on hold indefinitely for reasons I’m not aware of. But I do hope that it rises from the ashes like a phoenix since the screenplay of this film is one of the coolest I have written. And then there’s this little heard controversy it also created.
In 1994 Hollywood released a major film which became my most watched movie of all time. I have been watching this film every year since I watched it in 1995. Even this year I have already watched it, like twice! This film has really engraved deep inside my mind tantalizing me in every possible way to outline a local take on it. I feel as if I don’t have any control over my grey matter as it inspiringly outlined a really good screenplay for me to write physically. But until earlier this year, I have resisted the advances my brain has made on me for seventeen long years. Finally I had to succumb because my brain finally demolished my resistance and made me write it.
I began writing, inspired by this film in late 2011. I wrapped up writing in the first quarter of this year. It was named DHILAKANI (FIRE SPARKS). Immediately I started proposing it to interested producers. Unfortunately they kept declining. However, one producer even started pre-production but later disappeared and was never heard of again.
In late July, HUSSAIN MUNAWWAR picked up this screenplay as a follow up to his directorial debut, SAZAA which was the highest grossing film in 2011. Production started in late August. The production team is currently in SHAVIYANI FEEVAKU to shoot the majority of the scenes which was based on an island. All scenes of Male’ except two historical scenes, have been completed.
The cast has ISMAIL RASHEED aka COPEE ISSEY and NIUMA in the lead. MOHAMED MANIK, ROANU HASSAN MANIK, FAISAL, RISHFA and ZIYA complete the list. I still haven’t mentioned which Hollywood film it was inspired from, have I? Well, I just don’t want to be spoiling the storyline of DHILAKANI. But I can assure you, after seeing the materials shot in Male’, it’s going to be really awesome!
What else have I done? Oh yes, before I wrap up this post, I should mention the screenplays I re-wrote for AMJE, the man with fifty or more films directed under his belt. First one was called KEKULHUN (SUFFERING) which was a cautionary tale about drugs. It was originally written by novelist, MOHAMED QASIM. Once the deal was concluded, AMJE called me few days later asking me to re-write it as, drum rolls, a 50 episodes TV serial! I declined, indirectly though.
A month later, he called me again to re-write another screenplay which was again written by QASIM. It was called VAHUM (SUSPICION). I brought several changes to the characters, the plot and gave it a super cool ending. It’s been a while since I completed it. But I’m yet to hear from him. But I’m not going be like the title suggests, suspicious about anything. He’d call, you know?
I leave for now. Hopefully I’m going to be a tad frequent in future.