“My film is more like poetry. It is a visual exploration of the beauty of a prayer,” says the 37-year-old Canadian film maker Kaz Rahman whose film, Salaat was screened at the Salarjung museum on Thursday. “I started working on the script way back in 2004. It took a long time because we had to shoot the film in different places,” says the director. The film depicts Salaat - Islamic ritual prayer. “I play with time and juxtapose the changing seasons with prayers,” says Rahman, who currently lives and works in Pittsburgh, where he teaches film theory and production at the Art Institute.
The director brushes off any suggestion of sending out a message through his film. “The film is for people from all walks of life. In fact, around 400 people turned up for the screening at the museum,” he says, adding, “It is not a documentary on the faith of Muslims or a treatise on how to pray. I used several locations in an abstract way to convey a sense of claustrophobia,” says the director, whose film was screened in the US last September and has had subsequent screenings in India at Delhi and Aligarh Muslim University, among others. “It was strange to see that some venues in India turned down the screening of my film because they assumed it would be controversial. On the contrary, the media in US were very receptive and curious,” says the director adding that the film embarks on a spiritual sojourn. “I come from a Muslim perspective but the film per se is about capturing the beauty of the prayer,” he adds, who draws his inspiration from European cinema and model of filmmaking.
“In the European tradition, the film-maker has complete creative control over the project. But film making itself involves several aspects like cinematography, sound design and so on and so forth. So there has to be some sort of flexibility when you are working with your team,” says the director who shot several portions of his film in the city. “I first came to Hyderabad in 1998. Since then, I have been coming here on and off. There are many beautiful visuals here that I have incorporated in my film,” concludes Rahman, who is currently working on his next film, ‘Deccani Souls’ set to release this year.