Somalian Film Director's Lost and Found Story: Discovers His Film in NFAI After 34 Years
This was straight out of a typical Indian film narrating the lost and find story! A Somalian film director, who had given up his hope of finding his debut feature film, was left speechless on spotting the cans of film reels at Pune based National Film Archive of India. It was an emotional reunion of a film director and his film at NFAI, the national film archives of India at Pune.
Salah Ahmed, now 74, a Somalian film director came all the way from USA to Pune in search of his film A Somali Dervish, made in 1984. He had last seen the film in 1985 in Abu Dhabi after which it was considered to be lost.
"I am so emotional today that I have no words to express my joy and happiness on finding these film reels. It is like finding your own child back after so many years," said Said Salah Ahmed. "This was my first film and is very special because the film is a documentation of revolutionary Somali Dervish Movement under the leadership of Mohammed Abdullah Hassan, who was revered by Somalis as a national hero."
There is not a single print of this film available anywhere in the world and the Somali director thanked NFAI for having preserved the film. NFAI Director Prakash Magdum said, "Few months back we received a query from an award winning filmmaker and photographer Mark Brecke who is working on a documentary that focuses on Somali Cinema. In turn, Mauli Singh, the field producer of the documentary, Somalia In the Picture, which is tracing the lost film heritage of Somalia destroyed in war, visited us and the search was undertaken through our database that resulted in this rare find."
It's a 35 mm film, the negatives of which were deposited at NFAI several years back after Bombay Lab was closed down. This proves cinema as a medium has no language and no borders and NFAI is proud to have preserved a part of cinematic heritage of a country. The film, 4 hours and 40 minutes long, has dialogues in seven languages including Somali, Arabic, Italian, English and Hindi. The movie included an actual descendent of Mohammed Abdullah Hassan as its star and featured interviews of several participants of the revolution. The film was edited and processed in the Bombay Lab in Mumbai in 1983-84.
Like in Indian Cinema, this Somalian film had a happy ending and that too at NFAI, India.