This post is not about the classic Hollywood film of the same name starring iconic Yul Brynner as King Mongkut of Siam. No Siree! This is an entirely different King, my King, who unlike Mongkut had a full-grown Afro-like hairdo, who single-handedly ruled the Dhivehi film scene of the eighties, an era when the public loathed films and considered actors as cheap. Maldivian cinema earnestly won public acceptance with the influx of made-for-television films and music videos aired from the national television station, TVM. It was the only channel back then and also the single mode for films to have a broader nationwide reach.

The first chapters of the history of Dhivehi films, I believe, should be dedicated to my King, who presided over the hearts and governed every dream of Maldivian women. He was such a heartthrob. He also contributed heavily to laying the very foundation of Maldives’ film industry, which paved the way for the heavyweights after him to work as freely as they do today. I presenteth to thee mine own king, trumpet fanfare plays, Mohamed Rasheed aka Dharaa Rasheed.

BeFunky Collage

He started his career in 1980 as a cameraman for TVM. But the following year, he got an opportunity to appear in a film called Natheeja produced by his employer. However, he shot to stardom in Orchid Eynaage Maa, in his fifth made-for-television film as the lead singer, Nisham of Frogman. Yes, in that film he wore that light brown leather jacket and did that famous side-to-side swaying jig on the stage while singing, Angaadheshey. As in many of his television films, it was written and directed by renowned director, Hussain Shihab who also happened to be his guiding light. Over the years, both he and Shihab became a force to reckon with. Together, they did several television films that made Rasheed a household name.

After eight years in TVM, he took time off to study and earned a Master’s Diploma in Visual Communication from NOIDA, India. He returned home with five more diplomas under his belt in various aspects of filmmaking, including film direction and motion picture photography.

In 2005 he received the President’s award for his diligent contribution to the Maldives film industry.

In mid-2000, he returned to films, and currently, he is one of the most active veteran actors of filmdom. He has appeared in several films including critically acclaimed and the latest National Award-winning film, Loodhifaa.

Sadly, he never had the opportunity to work on any of my screenplays or teleplays until this year. However, he did direct an educational series that my brother and I wrote for Educational Development Center, where he was working at that time. It was around 2005, I think.

He will be featured in the upcoming film, Hahdhu as an understanding father who is also philosophical. I loved the way he handled his role, including his looks, which suited his character so well. He played his part with such finesse while using his trademark raspy voice to full effect.

The scene I remember most will be his speech, in his onscreen terms a lecture, given to his daughter at a time when she was drowning in a sea of misery. The way he delivered it in an uncut shot will leave the hall to pin-drop silence and make the audience wish they had a father like him.

Hahdhu will be premiered on 06 September 2017. Tickets are now available from Olympus.


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