“There’s no one like Amitabh Bachchan,”
Says Emirati film-maker Amer Salmeen al Murry, who is a huge Bollywood fan. In fact, the names of Bollywood films and stars he describes, can put Bollywood buffs to shame. Having grown up on Hindi cinema, he has just completed filming his new Arabic feature film ‘Ghost.’ His first film Fans of Amoory won several awards at film festivals here and abroad. Excerpts from his interview with Manju Ramanan.
Tell us about your collaboration with Twofour54?
This is my second film after Fans of Amoory. It is a horror-suspense-comedy and completely different than the first film. It is my first experience of this kind and I hope people like it. The film is made by twofour54 Abu Dhabi and Cinema Vision Films.
The new partnership follows the box office success and international acclaim for my Emirati hit ‘Fan of Amoory’, which won 6 awards and participated in 20 International film festivals, also produced in collaboration with twofour54. It has been filmed at twofour54’s backlot in the Khalifa Industrial Zone (KIZAD) that empowers content creators and encourages more film and TV productions in Abu Dhabi.
What is the star cast of ‘Ghosts’ and how is the story planned to spook us out?
‘Ghost’ stars a host of established local talents including Mariam Sultan, Abdelah Al Junaibi, Alaa Shaker, Hmeed al Awadi, Khaled Alnuaimi, Mayed Al Bloushi along with four new actors to UAE cinema, Kano Al Kendy, Rehab Al Mheiri, Lobna Alhasan and Rasem Hamdan. The film also features a special appearance from Algerian award-winning actor Jilali Boujemaa. This will be the first time Boujemaa stars in an Emirati movie.
The film’s storyline centres around a conflict of inheritance with a grandmother demanding all members of her family live together before she agrees to sell it. The adventure begins as the family travels from Abu Dhabi to the House, where mysterious events happen.
How did you choose horror as a genre?
People in this part of the world love horror movies. But this film is unlike the earlier Emirati feature film Djinn. There is no blood and gore and horror situations are created by creating an atmosphere. We used the same set as Tiger Zinda Hai that is still standing. We shot it in January and the weather was really cold, an apt setting for a horror film.
Any spooky experiences while shooting?
No. But I have net people who have had such experiences. I don’t believe in ghosts. I believe it is just a manifestation of your fear and it all depends on the situations and your mood.
What do you think of Emirati cinema?
It is growing but we need to work under good guidelines. People shouldn’t compromise on quality and at twofour54, we got it all.
You are extremely fond of Hindi cinema?
Yes! I have been reading Filmfare for the past 30 years. I have some old 25 issues that I treasure. I am a die -hard fan of Indian and American cinema. I love the biggest superstar of Bollywood, Amitabh Bachchan. There will be no one like him in Hindi cinema ever. He rules the hearts of so many generations and is still doing so well in the movies. I also like Anil Kapoor, Jackie Shroff and Shahrukh Khan. I was in Mumbai during the shoot of Gunday and had a chance to meet the dashing Ranveer Singh. Also, I love the work of Varun Dhawan, Ranbir Kapoor and Hrithik Roshan. I love the work of Deepika Padukone and Alia Bhatt. Alia is a very strong actress.
Who are your favourite Bollywood music men?
AR Rehman spells quality. But I also love Lakshmikant-Pyarelal and Annu Mallik.