An ode to a preacher

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By C.S.
  • Published 9.05.08
A scene from the film

The four-month-long wait for the year’s first Assamese film was well worth it, with Ajan Faquir Saheb combining universality of content with simplicity of treatment.

The film is the maiden venture of producer Bani Kalita and director Asif Iqbal Hussain, under the banner of Samannay Films. It was released on April 25.

The story revolves around the life of philanthropist Shah Miran, who migrated to Assam from Baghdad with his younger brother Nabi in 1634 and tried to strengthen communal harmony.

Shah Miran became the spiritual leader for the Muslims of Assam and started to teach them formal religious practices like namaz and azan. He became known as Azan Faqir, as the first one to render azan in the mosque.

He won the hearts of the Muslims for his translation of the Quran into Assamese and also for creation of zikirs, a form of Muslim devotional song containing the essence of friendship, fraternity and brotherhood.

He earned the devotion of Ahom king Swargadeu Pratap Singh and his court but his popularity posed a threat to the Muslim bureaucrat of the Ahom kingdom, Rupai Gadia, who accused him of being a Mughal spy. Ajan Faqir was imprisoned and blinded but the king soon realised his mistake and released him.

The faqir was then established at a place called Soraguri Chapori near the Ahom capital and rewarded with land and property.

Besides good performances by Bishnu Kharghoria as Ajan Faqir, Arun Nath as the king, Moloya Goswami as the queen and Prithviraj Rabha as Nabi, the film boasts of impressive camera work by Paresh Barua.

Music directors Dwijen Konwar and Hafeja Begum Choudhury have done justice to their job.