Posts from the ‘Movies’ category

SUPER DELUXE REVIEW

This Tamil dark comedy with three main eccentric stories arrested me from its very opening credits on a black screen.

The first story has an unfaithful wife whose life turns into a whirlpool when she finds her secret lover dead on her bed right after having sex.

The second story has a group of students who gather to watch porn only to find that the leading lady in it is the mother of one of the boys.

The third and the most sensitive story has a small kid who is eagerly waiting at the arrival of his father after a long absence. But to his surprise, his father is now a transgender woman.

All these stories then branch out with more engaging subplots until its expository and sometimes philosophical ending about existence and the origin of life, the design pattern and similarity of the universe, solar system and atomic structure of atoms.

But I must admit that the way one subplot unfolded, I wish it was done differently. Nevertheless, the powerful performances kept me glued to the seat. Even its almost three hours running time which again I thought could have trimmed down a little bit, I didn’t mind.

Though all the cast standout, its Vijay Sethupathi as the transgender woman who steals the show. His portrayal of Shilpa is heartfelt and compassionate. The scene where he dresses up in front of his shocked wife Jyothi played wonderfully by Gyathrie is stunning.

Bagavathi Perumal also turns in an outstanding performance as Berlin, a sadistic cop that I wanted to strangle him to death so badly.

But the real star of this film is writer-director Thiagarajan Kumaraja for weaving such an engaging narrative with multiple subplots. And through these subplots, he not only exposed the real problems persisting in Chennai but also India as a whole.

Another striking feature is the cinematography by Nirav Shah and P.S. Vinod. The use of colours, the lighting, the camera shots and movements are exquisite. Even the first scene grabbed my attention that I knew I was going to watch something special.

The original music by Yuvan Shankar Raja added more depth to the unfolding stories evoking sadness, sympathy and menace.

This film is a winner. It is highly recommended.

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JERSEY (2019) REVIEW

This heart-wrenching yet deeply satisfying Telugu underdog sports drama kept my floodgates opened long after the end credits rolled. My wife and I kept sobbing loudly.

Arjun, played with restraint and conviction by Nani, is gifted but a down on his luck retired cricketer. When his life hits rock-bottom, he is forced out of retirement, at a cost. But his raison d’etre would never leave a dry eye in the house.

The entire cast hit sixes with their exceptional performances, especially Shraddha Srinath as Arjun’s abandoned wife who carries the burden of supporting the family. Sathyaraj as Murthy who is the long-time mentor and the only person who never stops believing in Arjun. And Ronit Kamra as Arjun’s son who adores his father despite his pitiful struggle to keep his family together.

Anirudh Ravichander hits all the right chords with his engaging music, and the cinematography by Sanu John Varughese adds a solemn depth to the intense drama and the sports sequences.

The screenplay is creatively written by Gowtam Tinnanur, keeping his nonlinear narrative poignant and straightforward. He even hits a biggie out of the stadium with his solid direction.

Highly recommended.

A NEAT SURPRISE!

When producer/ director, Mohamed Aboobakuru aka Maaenboo asked me to write Neydhen Vakivaakah, I repeatedly requested him that he should take it as a challenge to make it better than all the movies he has done so far. After watching the premiere of the film last night, I am impressed and happy to see that he has risen to the occasion by delivering a pleasantly well-balanced film that the audience thoroughly enjoyed from start to finish. This is his best work to this date by many miles.

Official Poster

Few minutes into the film, I knew the audience was hooked. They had a whale of time reacting to the jokes, the unexpected twists and turns that were unconventional for a romantic drama including some red herrings thrown here and there. Above all the performances by the entire cast kept the audience fully engaged. My wife, my strictest critique from whose feedback I always consider if a film I have written has hit the bullseye, rated it as one of the most delightful screenplays I have written so far. Phew!

As usual, the heavyweight actors, Yoosuf Shafeeu, Fathimath Azeesha, Ahmed Saeed and Arifa Ibrahim were a real treat to watch. The role played by Yoosuf Shafeeu reminded me of his National Award-winning role from Vehey Vaarey Therein but with more contrast, control and maturity.

Fathimath Azeesha played the sympathetic girl next door who has shut herself from any romantic involvement because of a tragic past. She kept her acting believable and straightforward as her character comes out of the shell, goes back in, comes out again only to find that she has much bigger sufferings to confront.

There’s nothing more to be said of Ahmed Saeed. In this film, he once again turned in a memorable performance. This actor can play any given role he is offered with his eyes closed. He has proven how versatile he is by playing completely different characters in three of his films that were released this year.

But it was fashion designer/ choreographer, Jaadhulla Ismail in his first role in a film that surprised everyone. He was very likeable and showed great depth in his acting. He was funny in the first half with his comic timing spot on. He then showed unbelievable restraint in the second half by relying entirely on his acting as he had barely any dialogues to deliver. He understood his character well and was aware of his character arc. I hope he continues to appear in many more films.

Shoutout also goes to Ahmed Azmeel and Naashidha. Their roles were small, but they were essential to the narrative.

I congratulate the entire team for a job well done. Keep up the good work in entertaining the audience.

Cheers!

FEELING LIMITLESS

When my wife, my life long critique who would stop at nothing to cut me up even at the slightest of opportunities cried, I mean not a drop or two but a lot, after watching Hahdhu, then it’s a reason to rejoice. And it also says she’s impressed big time. Her feedback is all that mattered to me.

Though I have boasted about this movie for so long, this post is once again what I felt after watching it from the silver screen. The film was premiered for the media this evening at Schwack Cinema.

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I am so overwhelmed with excitement and happiness that I don’t know from where to begin. The cast, the crew, I mean every department of this film were outstanding. Period. But I am going to start with newcomer Ahmed Shiban. All eyes were set on him ever since he was cast in the leading role. For me, he has come out with flying colours. He was in his character throughout the film. The way he handled his character’s introvert traits and his slow transition from start to finish was commendable. Surprisingly, he was way too comfortable with the two leading ladies. And more surprising was his emotions were completely different with each lady. As for those six-packs of his, he made the ladies swoon and guys green.

In my previous post, I have mentioned that this film is a tale of two leading ladies. The narrative intercuts between the lives of Yusra and Zamha played to perfection by filmdom’s most sought after actresses, Mariyam Azxza and Aminath Rishfa respectively. Though neither of them shares screen time in the film, they were neck and neck in their performances.

In Hahdhu, Azxza has given a flawless performance in a role that any actor would die for to sink their teeth into. And as Yusra, she bites deep into her character to show a variety of shades from a free-spirited girl without boundaries to a girl who has to in the end draw a boundary around her. She was beyond brilliance, showcasing a range of emotions as she handled her character with aplomb.

As for Rishfa, she is in a stellar form showing her acting abilities that we haven’t seen from her before. She brilliantly portrays the assured life of Yusra while showing the fragilities and volatilities of life when her own comes crumbling down. She allows the audience to go down with her and succumb to her sadness. She made us easily empathise with her character. She also showed great restraint in her acting. This is one stunning performance.

Dhon Ayya keeps raising the bar with each role he plays. In Hahdhu, he shows his vulnerability and his transformation to accept life as a changed person is so believable and very relatable. Another excellent performance by this promising actor. I wish great things happening for him.

After a long hiatus from films, veteran actor Fauziyya Hassan returns to the screen as an over-cautious mother whose life spirals down to the point of no return when her pride is beaten to a pulp. She made my heart shatter into pieces in one of the pivotal scenes where she shows her acting prowess in a long play shot — just magic.

This film is packed with stunning performances from the entire cast, especially by the veteran actors along with Fauziyya. Add to that list, Mohamed Rasheed. He gives a top-notch performance as an understanding father who is also very philosophical. His performance is very controlled yet in his eyes and in his delivery allowed me to sink in with his emotions. This King rules.

Another veteran who shines and almost steals the shows is Arifa Ibrahim. She takes her acting to another level but supports everyone around her to excel with her as well. She does wonders with her one-liners. Truly brilliant.

Mariyam Shakeela is often an overlooked actor, but in Hahdhu, she gives a mesmerising performance. Though she has a few scenes, she allows the audience to understand her character’s inner and outer self, especially in a crucial scene where her transformation is delivered without any dialogue. Well done.

Honourable mention goes to Mariyam Haleem, Aminath Rasheeda and Gulistan for turning in equally great performances as strong independent women we rarely get to see in local films. This is by far their best performances in their careers. Also, I add Najah to the list as boat captain Mohamedbe from whose sympathetic eyes we get to witness the toughest of times that the principal characters go through.

The cute girl who plays the happy daughter of Rishfa takes on an emotionally charged role showing talent beyond her age. Her eyes are so expressive.

Lastly, in the acting department, TV anchor Ahmed Fairooz surprised everyone by bringing his small screen charm and charisma to the big screen with an unbelievable performance. He shows he has acting chops to compete with all the heavyweights of the filmdom. And his comic timing is spot on.

This film wouldn’t be complete without the thought-provoking songs written exclusively for the film’s narrative by Theyra and all the songs performed together with his wife Ashfa. Three cheers to them and the formidable and creative team behind composing and arranging all the songs, including additional vocals to one of my favourite songs, Thaubaa. Ashfa’s haunting vocals to my favourite scene still lingers. Well done, everyone.

On the technical side, kudos to the breath-taking cinematography by Kandi Vishan. Through his lens, he captivates the audience with the beauty of the islands in never-before-seen footages in a local film thus far. This will easily register as his best and his finest of work.

Ju Ma has done an admirable job with makeup changing the actors so smoothly from glamorous to gloomy or vice-versa. He kept his tones and shades properly to the situation his characters were in with every scene. Moreover, his choreography to Giritee Loabin, all I can say is bravo!

When he is given a canvas with creative freedom, whiz kid, Ahmed Sajid has shown his magic in post-production. His editing crisp, well-paced and colour grading looks refreshing. And when his visual effects go unnoticed by the audience, then the job he has done is deemed perfect.

I wasn’t sure when musician Mistee was commissioned to compose the score for this film. But now I don’t see anyone else doing it. His music has given a new life to this film by enhancing the emotions of the actors and tying them directly to the heartstrings of the audience. His build-up to the climax is praiseworthy. He has done wonders and magic in the most pivotal scene of the film. Even as I type this, the goosebumps haven’t subsided. Brilliant work.

The team Hahdhu was made stronger by Umar Ashfaq and Hoodh Ahmed. They were the hard-working production assistants. I congratulate them for a job well done.

I thank with all my heart to Niuma Mohamed and Abdul Fatthaah for producing this film which I wrote some eight years ago for the latter. If not for them, my screenplay would still be lying on the shelf, collecting more dust and cobwebs. Thank you! Thank you!

Finally, cometh the hour, cometh the man. Abdul Fatthaah is the assured captain who sailed and steered this ship to new heights with such a multi-talented cast and a creative crew. In his long journey to bring my screenplay to screen, he inspired everyone in his team to outshine in their respective departments. I salute him for giving up on his old style of film making, and after an absence of two years without directing a film, he returned by revamping himself by applying a very current style of film making for his 12th film of his career. The impact was immediately felt from the opening scene to the final credits. This feels like a film directed by a new director. This, I consider his masterpiece.

This film will go down in the history of Dhivehi cinema as the first film to exhibit with 5.1 surround sound. Now that’s what I call setting benchmarks and developing the local film industry. Kudos to Fatthaah for giving the green signal. Once again it was Mistee who was at the helm of this audacious task along with Sajid at designing and mixing the sound. Their hard work has paid dividends and given this emotional roller coaster ride a thrilling experience. But sadly, the 5.1 surround will only be experienced from the cinemas owned by Schwack.

I hope that the audience will talk about this film even long after watching this film. For me, this film has set a new benchmark. It’s well-paced, well-acted and technically brilliant and also innovative. I congratulate team Hahdhu, and I do look forward to another film from them.

Cheers!

LET’S FLY

The upcoming emotional roller coaster ride, Hahdhu has released their second and final music video, Udhuhilamaa from their OST. Watch the song from the link below.

The song focuses on the budding relationship between Yusraa and Ali, played by Azxza and Shiban, respectively. Their chemistry looks impressive. The song builds up from love to lust and then ends with violence as Ali is beaten very brutally. Does he get killed? All this will be answered on 06th September 2017.

The cinematography by Kandi is breathtaking. Also, a highlight is the real-life couple, Ashfa and Theyra who performs this song with real gusto doing a strong appearance in the video. Even their chemistry looks striking.

Hahdhu is less than a week away from its premiere.

Cheers!

THE SECRET LIFE OF AHMED FAIROOZ

A few hours ago, the big secret I have been itching to reveal ever since I first saw his scenes from upcoming film Hahdhu, has been finally unveiled tonight through a live feed from his Facebook page. After that, the final trailer, with his footages, was also uploaded.

Ahmed Fairooz who is well known nationwide as a steadfast anchor previously working at Raaje TV will make his feature film debut in Hahdhu. And what a debut it’s going to be. From the very first scenes of his, I was in awe to see him sharing screen time with heavyweights with aplomb and stealing every scene he was in. I even wondered if it was his first attempt at acting in films. He looks like a pro.

His charming screen presence is arresting while his comic timing spot on. Check out the final shot of the new trailer. I thank him for showcasing his acting chops on films and bravo Fatthaah for casting him. I remember how I kept nagging Fatthaah if Fairooz has what it takes to act in a film. He dislocated my jaw by surprising me completely and come 6th September his charisma will have audience begging for more. I also predict that he will have producers running after him. In my opinion, he is ready to take a leading role in any romantic film.

Hahdhu is a week away from unveiling his natural talent as an actor. It’s one of the biggest reasons to be excited about the film.

Cheers!

REGARDING FATTHAAH

It was the night of 31st December of 2002, at the award ceremony of TVM’s Inter-Office Teledrama Competition which was held earlier that year, Ministry of Atolls Administration, the Ministry I represented with historical drama, November 3 was losing out in all the categories. The awards for best director and best drama were remaining. By then, I had given up hope on winning any from those two.

Though to win the best director award, the only award Atolls won that night, was a consolation, but receiving it from an exceptional filmmaker was a moment to cherish. It was not only an honour but even salvaged my New Year’s Eve from becoming a disappointment.

That was the first time I came face to face with this filmmaker who was not only an alumnus of this competition but also made a name for himself by previously winning best director three years in a row. His transition to filmdom was swift and successful. In a short period, he made it to the top of the finest directors’ list of the local film industry and to date, he remains as a cut above the rest. He is director Abdul Fatthaah.

Fatthaah

Although that night I closed the door to this competition for good after having successfully represented Atolls for five consecutive years, winning a total of 14 awards, almost two years later, Fatthaah opened a new one for me.

It was one morning of January 2005, and I was waiting outside my office, which was located on the Marine Drive back then. Fatthaah stopped on his motorbike right next to me. He asked me for my mobile number which, without any hesitation, I gave. He went on his way, and I went inside my office. A few minutes later, I received a call from an unknown number. I answered it, and it was him. He said he just wanted to assure that if it was my number. I laughed, and the rest was history.

As I look back on my 12 years of collaboration with him and still counting, it gives me a smile on my face and a joy to my heart as it was in this very collaboration that allowed me to develop and enrich my screenwriting craft. He gave me all the creative freedom to experiment whatever I wanted. And for that, I thank him with all my heart.

My first work with him was 2005 melodrama, Hureemey Inthizaarugai. But writing it was the most unconventional in my screenwriting career so far. Due to scheduling conflicts of the production, I had to write the third act first and within 08 days.

Since Fatthaah was a solid director and to experience what it’s like to be breaking the rules, I threw caution to the wind and decided to step out of my comfort zone. I only had a few plot points that he gave me for the first, second act and couple of specific scenes that he wanted to stage for the third act. So based on all these points and scenes, I outlined the third act. It was both challenging and nerve-wracking. But I must admit that it was fun.

In 2005, TV drama of 13 episodes, Kuramey Vadhaai Salaam, which Fatthaah directed was a starring vehicle for newcomer Mariyam Afeefa. It was a warm-up for her to her leading role in the feature film, Vaa Loabi Engeynama produced by Fatthaah in 2006. The film went on to win a total of 12 accolades at the 5th National Film Awards including Best Picture and Best Actress for Afee.

On the late morning of 21st February 2006, Fatthaah and I met at West Park to discuss a TV drama of 52 episodes that he was going to produce and direct for TVM under his production banner, Red Productions. He already had a concept and a catchy title. He also had three actors selected for the lead. It was about the ups and downs of the life of two childhood female friends as they grew up on an island. He specifically wanted the first 32 episodes to be set in his birth island, Ha. Kelai. And the remaining episodes in Male’. The serial was called Hinithunvelaashey Kalaa.

Since I love writing on female protagonists, this serial had two, and I instantly got hooked on his concept. It only took me a whole week to outline the entire serial. When I presented the outline, he had nothing to add. I started writing a day or two later.

Like yesterday, I still remember the hunger I had, which was overflowing from my mind and heart, when I wrote this serial. I was so drowned deep into this world of these two ladies, and I even had to set a goal of writing an episode per day since Fatthaah sailed off with his cast and crew to start production. And yes, it took me 32 days to finish the needed 32 episodes.

I remember on weekends waking up in the middle of the night, starts writing and continued until late morning and sometimes until afternoon. I was writing non-stop. And it is in this very series that I refined my favourite of genre, rom-com. One of the main characters in this series was Inaa, who’s a bit tomboyish. But her interaction with Adeel, a drug addict who’s been banished to her island, has several unforgettable rom-com moments thrown around in several episodes. Their parts and the entire series was well received by the public.

Even after 11 years, I still feel upset when Fatthaah changed one of my favourite scenes I wrote in this series. Her community loved inaa, and she does everything that men did, including participating in a cultural stick dance only performed by men. But that stick dance scene of Inaa with all the men was altered by Fatthaah claiming that women don’t participate in such traditional dances. That was the whole point. Guess women empowerment was not a serious subject back then.

In 2007 I tried a full-blown comedy with Aharenge Lha Daddy which Fatthaah produced and directed for TVM. Everyone loved this miniseries of 5 episodes, which focused on an ageing father who’s still young at heart and liked dating young girls.

Vaudhey Mi Ee was another TV series of 13 episodes he directed for TVM. He also wrote the first eight episodes. But he commissioned me to write from episodes 9-13. It was aired in 2013.

Though we didn’t collaborate in any serials or films since 2013, I had a stint in writing five short documentaries on the environment that he directed for UNDP.

To think about the amount of writing I did for all the serials and films included, it’s like I have written a total of 35 feature-length films of 90 minutes.

After his last film, Aadheys directed in 2014, Fatthaah is set to return to the silver screen with his 12th direction, Hahdhu with a loud bang. My prediction is that it’s going to be louder or loudest even. For this film, he has revamped his visual style completely. Though he has made his visual flair more current, he has added the most effective and challenging old-school film making technique, the long play. And he doesn’t over-do it. His new style has brought a sense of realism to the entire narrative of the film. And it has allowed every actor to shine brightly. And he hasn’t given up on showing off his eye for landscape either. The travelogue experience will be a bonus.

Speaking of Hahdhu, it was written back in 2009 as a project he wanted to do with Dash Studio with an entirely different working title, on a simple concept he came up with. Due to unforeseen circumstances, the project was shelved. Guess it happened for a very good reason. Having it halted for eight years, allowed him to mature, grow, and when he gained his confidence, he completely overhauled his visual style. I salute him for the risk he has taken for the development of our local film industry and to entertain the audience who complains about local films not meeting their expectations. Hahdhu has all the right ingredients to blow out the expectation roof.

Hahdhu will be premiered on 06th September 2017.

Cheers!

MISTY’S MAGICAL MUSIC HAS MESMERIZED ME

When director Abdul Fatthaah appointed promising musician, Misty to compose music for his upcoming film, Hahdhu, I was unable to relate the quality of Misty’s music for any other film he has made music for except the very recently released Ill Noise, his first work for a feature film. Even that film happened to be a genre entirely different from the melodramatic genre of Hahdhu. However, I was well aware of his creative ability. So I was eagerly and very anxiously awaiting to see his composition.

Misty

A little while ago, I had the most fulfilling experience of my life when I watched the key scenes of Hahdhu with the music that Misty composed. His work has surpassed all my expectation by taking them to a level that I had never imagined. It was music not only to my ears but to my mind, my heart, and my soul as well. I have no words to express how good it was. Even the word brilliant wouldn’t suffice.

Misty’s music to the opening scene was stirring, while a key dramatic scene of Fauziyya wrenched my heart altogether. Another critical scene of Dhon Ayya, drowned my mind and senses into the exact state his character was in. Meanwhile, his composition to the turning point of Shiban has given the full meaning to his character arc. It was so enriching.

But it was this most pivotal scene in the film that I have been looking forward to for so long that Misty easily knocked the ball out of the park. It was not only poignant but unnerving as well. It left me with a dry mouth, a lump in my throat, and my heart was pierced from all sides, I don’t know how many times. When that scene was over, I was feeling cold, teary and scared even. It’s also very haunting that that scene is still playing in my mind. I am so confident that this scene will leave the audience with their spines chilled.

I can’t wait to see the complete film with his outstanding music. When something has captivated and mesmerised me in ways that I have never expected or imagined, it’s a good reason to be impatient. So, I can’t wait to see the completed mesmerising music of Misty which is beyond magical. Well done, Misty.

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

Cheers!

RATING RISHFA

I rate Aminath Rishfa as one of the few determined actors working in the local film industry today endowed with beauty, talent, and self-confidence. She is truly in a league of her own. She takes her roles in her creative manner, spins them and delivers with unexpected enthusiasm, and she has never failed to surprise me, every time.

There, I have rated her. End of my post. Cheers!

BeFunky Collage

No way I can end this. A little while ago, I just watched some of the newly edited scenes of her upcoming film, Hahdhu and I have so much to write. Speaking of which, there’s an inside joke that if I start writing, my posts end up as essays. Here’s a disclaimer this time. I will not be responsible if this post causes eye strain.

Very recently I posted my very thoughts on Rishfa as a status update on my FB account and now this, I thought, I would, here on my blog. Consider this a follow-up but on a different platform. And yes, it’s going to be a long piece. So here I am feeling all keyboard happy and delighted to have seen almost all of her scenes.

If my memory serves me right, Rishfa’s arrival into filmdom was at a time when the undying love for Dhivehi films was in distress. The audience was demanding for fresh faces. Her debut was in a song appropriately titled, Dheyshey mi bunaa loabi translated, give (me) this love I’m asking. But it was her second song with established actor, Mohamed Manik that made her so famous. In this song, she appeared like an angel and restored the much-needed love and hope of the audience. And coincidentally she was in all whites, sans feathery wings though.

After that song, she became the most sought-after actress appearing in many video songs, later stepping into TV series before hitting the big screen.

My favourite director, Ravee Farooq’s segment of Hatharu Halha anthology called Qaathil was her first work on a screenplay that I have written, I mean, co-written to be precise. Yes, that unfortunate anthology that has been delayed at post-production indefinitely. But I’m still hopeful that we will get to see it.

In Ravee’s segment, she plays a vulnerable friend of a very manipulative female drug addict. The former hit a moral dilemma of whether to compromise her friendship or turn in for a heinous crime they have committed. She was up against Mariyam Majda who at that time started working in feature films. Both ladies gave terrific performances, and they were also very bold at accepting their respective roles. Since Ravee, in my opinion, was unfairly removed from the project, I heard, I repeat, I heard that his segment went through a harsh re-editing which derailed the director’s original vision that not only hurt both actors no holds barred performances but also the film’s brooding narrative. But I hope what I heard was untrue.

When Rishfa was cast in Dhilakani directed by Hussain Munawwar, honestly, I wasn’t any sure if she could pull off her character. It was only her role in this film that I was doubtful of. She was in a supporting role in which her emotions had to be restrained, yet she had to be, by nature, very positive. Her character was the only ray of light in a very dark-toned narrative which focuses on a man’s tumultuous journey to avenge his brother’s death. But she proved me utterly wrong by giving an outstanding performance that outdid my original perception of her character. She made the character more joyful, playful, yet layered and controlled. No wonder she won the best-supporting actress award for her role at the Maldives Film Awards 2012.

Later, she was cast in Ali Seezan directed Ahsham in which she played a very independent woman, a role she played with her eyes closed.

In my FB mentioned above status, I remember stating how tasteful Rishfa’s scenes have made to the entire narrative of Hahdhu. And with more new scenes of her’s added, it’s getting tastier and tastier. It made me feel like I didn’t want to finish sipping that freshly brewed cup of tea with a dash of Jasmine. And when I was done watching, I wanted another cup.

In Haddhu, she plays Zamha, a woman with her life all sorted out who suddenly finds her whole life crumbling down before her own eyes drowning herself in a fathomless sea of grief. She handled her character arc so well, allowing the audience to experience both stages of her life. Previously I watched this one song of hers with several missing shots. But today, when I watched that same song completed with all the missing shots, I felt as if someone forcefully squeezed my heart. And halfway through the song, my flood gates opened. Risfa was brilliant, and I regard this as the best performance of her career by many miles. Director Fatthaah was observing me and the smile on his face, and I am so sure would even put the Cheshire cat to shame.

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

Cheers!

THE KING AND I

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 Dhivehi film scene of the eighties, an era when 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, as I believe, should be dedicated to my King, who presided over the hearts and governed in every dream of Maldivian women. He was such a heartthrob. He also contributed heavily on laying the very foundation of Maldives film industry, which paved the way for the heavyweights after him to work so 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 of 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 Diploma in Visual Communication from NOIDA, India. He returned home with five more diplomas under his belt in various aspects of film making, including film direction and motion picture photography.

In 2005 he received the President’s award for his diligent contribution for 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 in 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.

Cheers!