Zaigham Imam’s debut feature Dozakh is based on a Hindi novel written by Imam himself. A former journalist and writer, Imam has now entered the film industry with hopes of sharing new stories through the visual medium. Set against the backdrop of the multi-cultural Varanasi, the city where Imam was born and raised, Dozakh explores religious ideologies through a father-son relationship. “The film has a separate identity and was made with care and sensitivity, as it explores religious issues,” says Imam.
On turning his book into a film, Imam says, “There’s this one thing that’s common between journalism, writing and films - the need to tell a story from your own perspective. That need to tell a story and get it to as many people as possible, fuelled my desire to convert the book into a film. At the end of the day, film as a medium has immense power, mainly because of its visual aspect. You can’t control its power and it travels beyond boundaries, which is why I decided to make the book into a film.”
A fierce supporter of Indian independent cinema, Imam was quite vocal when it came to his dislike for mainstream Indian cinema. “I’m ashamed our Bollywood movies are called mainstream cinema. Hopefully in the coming years, independent cinema will get newer platforms to showcase their work,” he says.