At a point of time when Taj Mahal is at the cusp of political debate over its very existence, here comes Shiraz, an Indian silent film on the love story of 17th century princess who inspired the construction of the spectacular monument. But the highlight of the film is not majorly the plot but the presence of six-time Grammy nominated Anoushka Shankar, who has rendered live score for the film. ”This score that I have made for Shiraz has probably been the hardest thing that I have ever done,” says a gleeful Anoushka. She further says that Shiraz has been difficult as well as rewarding at the same time. This is the first time Anoushka has commissioned music for a film.
Anoushka has created a vital body of work with a prominent roster of artists such as Sting, M.I.A, Herbie Hancock, Pepe Habicheula, Karsh Kale, Rodrigo y Gabriela and Joshua Bell. A 1928 film, after being restored by the British Council and BFI National Archive, Shiraz was first premiered at the 61st BFI London Film Festival at Barbican and following the appreciation it garnered, it was announced that the film will be touring four Indian cities. This initiative was taken as a part of UK/India 2017 Year of Culture, a year-long celebration of the long-standing relationship between India and UK.
The film is ready to visit Hyderabad, Kolkata, New Delhi and Mumbai from 1st to 5th of November which will be accompanied by the performance of the scintillating Anoushka Shankar. ”I found it very moving because I had never seen anything from that period… I get really moved by seeing people from history. The fact that they made a film together back in the twenties, it’s just really moving,” said the Grammy-nominated sitar player. About her score in Shiraz Anoushka says that the music in the film is not purely ”Hindustani” or western. The film is silent and of course, the music brings it to life which helps the audience connect with it.
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Shiraz was a silent film made back in the 1920’s helmed by Franz Osten and produced by Himanshu Rai. It will take the audience by surprise how an Indian film made almost a century back imbibed two infamous kisses. Nevertheless, what is sure is that the film will definately be a treat to its audience. But what is curious is the time in which it has arrived in India, amidst all the controversy lets see how Shiraz triggers its magic.