“Indian Cinema is my inspiration” says Emarati Filmmaker Talal Mehmood

“I grew up watching Bollywood movies.” says Talal “My father was a huge fan of Indian movies, he loved Rajesh Khanna and even cut his hair like the actor. Every time an Indian film was released on video he would make me watch it, I grew up watching Dilip Kumar and Amitab Bachchan.”

When asked which Indian director inspired him the most he said there were many but among his favorites were Anurag Kashyap  , Vishal Bharadwaj and Mani Ratnam. He also admires actor Kamal Hassan and music composer  A. R Rahman. “Every film I make has one Indian song in playing in it, it is my homage to Indian cinema.”

Talal’s film Um Kharoon has been selected in the Gulf Shorts Competition in the 6th edition of Gulf Film festival. Its is a film about a popular area in Sharjah, UAE called Kharoon, “Kharoon is an area which is looked down upon by people, whenever someone wears bad clothes or speaks and behaves badly people would ask “Are you from Kharoon?” It became a joke, everything bad was associated with this area. It was always my dream to make a movie on this area where I grew up to show that the people living in the area were decent people. There are lawyers, actors, singers, poets and many respectful and creative people living there and finally through this film my dream of changing the misconceptions about Kharoon has came true.”

Talal has worked as an actor playwright for theater for many years before he decided to take up film-making. “The reason why I finally decided to write for the screen was because I had too many ideas and fantasies that were beyond theater and making a film seemed more challenging and I love doing things that are not easy.”

Talal  is a festival veteran and has seen it evolve from its conception, “The films have better quality and have become more professional than before.” he says. “Even though the knowledge of filmmakers has increased in terms of editing, technical support and graphics there is still a lack of screen writers. The writers in the region are too shy and need to have the courage to put their ideas forward.”

By Syeda Nawab Fathima

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