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.
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.