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Salim: Passion for cinema personified

Staff reporter


Omani actor Salim Mubarak Al Mukhaini (Bahwan), who died on Saturday of a heart attack, left behind a legacy of perseverance and sacrifice in the world of arts.

He was one of a few, if not the only one, who presented own cinematic works for the people of art and media before displaying to the public. This was to get the comments from those who matter, and then make necessary changes so that the final version that goes to the public is what should be there really before them.

And across his three films, Salim etched his vision in multifarious roles – as writer and director. All this was done in the most simple and effective manner with help of technology and creativity.

For Sudha S, a director closely associated with cinema in the Sultanate, Salim’s death has also been a very personal loss. It was sometime in 2012 that she discussed a cinema plot with him. “The discussions used to go on very creatively and somehow personal impediments came in the way and finally it was just two months ago that the plans were revived and put on track,” she says.

When the cinema story came up, Salim was what she had in her mind. And recently when she succeeded in finding a producer for it, she says, the discussions veered round to Salim as he was the central figure.

“So personal were his relations with cinema and those involved with it. He was passionate about cinema. His presence at the sets was so towering that he got involved with everything associated with the art of film-doing,” she recounts. More than a personal loss for her, it is a big loss for the Sultanate’s cinema world. Salim, she says, came to be accepted across the film world in the Gulf on par with some of the big names in Bollywood with which the audience is familiar.

In his first experiment, `A Search for the Impossible’, Salim unfolded actions with highly cinematic techniques. Written and directed by himself, Salim also donned a major role and shared it with a host of stars from the theatre. The idea of the film was inspired by some real events.

His second directorial venture, ‘Once in a Lifetime’, was different from the first and had a simple vision and a deep message. Here too the story and direction were by him.

The next experiment was `A Pony Story’, in which he immortalised a romantic story of a pony in a dramatic and cinematic way, highlighting the specificity of society, its customs and traditions of the past and present.

Salim presented more than 30 television series, about 30 plays and four movies. He was the first actor in the GCC to get a medal from Egypt in recognition of his stellar role in the series ‘A man from the Impossible Time’.