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Umrao Jaan director to make film on Rumi

July 13, 2009 19:17 IST

Famed 13th century Sufi poet and philosopher Jalaluddin Rumi -- who has been called the Smiling Face of Islam in the past -- is set to receive recognition from the Qatar Foundation.

Fine Pearl Studios, recently established by the Qatar Foundation, has been assigned to execute the long-awaited international bio-epic film project on Rumi's life and times.
Indian filmmaker Muzaffar Ali has been given the honour of directing the film. He will team up with Oscar winning American screenwriter and director David Ward for the project. The duo recently signed 'production development' agreements with Fine Pearl Studios.

The film reportedly will trace the life of Rumi, who was born in Afghanistan in 1207. In his day, Rumi was one of the world's great travellers, and he travelled widely in the Middle East and West Asia before settling in Konya, Turkey, where he died in 1273.

Today, Rumi is widely acknowledged as one of the greatest Sufi poets and spiritual thinkers. During his travels, he met the wandering dervish Shams Al Tabrizi, who then became his spiritual mentor and had a profound impact on Rumi's life.

He's especially popular in the United States, where he enjoyed a great resurgence of popularity following the 9/11 attacks, when the American public thirsted for authentic sources of Islamic thought and literature.

'Rumi has been my dream to build a bridge of love and understanding between the East and the West. I have tried to bring together artists of the world, who think with their heart, to be part of this journey to create a poem on celluloid much the way Rumi did with words, with the conviction that the language of moving images can truly 'bring about brotherhood of man and end all armed conflicts from the face of this earth' as predicted by D W Griffiths the father of American cinema nearly hundred years ago,' Muzaffar Ali said in a statement.

Ali, who in 2005 was awarded the Padma Shri for his achievements, directed the critically-acclaimed Umrao Jaan.

rediff Entertainment Bureau