Actor-Filmmaker Akbar Khan will play Saddam Hussein in an upcoming film From President to Prisoner, to be produced and directed by Suresh Kohli.
Kohli, a Delhi-based documentary and short-film filmmaker told PTI that his debut feature film in English will be a human interest story tracing the roots of Saddam as coming from humble origins to becoming the President of Iraq.
"The film will also focus on his nationalistic aspects, the reforms he brought about in his country including education of women. He also strived for a united West Asia," Kolhi said.
Kohli said he decided on making a film on Saddam after he read Aziz Burney’s Safar Zindagi Ka, a well researched account of Saddam’s life.
"It’s a real tear jerker. All the while, I was going by what the Western world had to say about Saddam,"he added.
Kohli is currently in the process of finalising the script with Burney.
About Akbar Khan playing the title role in the film, he said he had gone to meet Khan for some other work when the Saddam project came up for our discussion.
"I kept Akbar Khan’s photo next to Saddam’s picture of his younger days and everyone agreed and said that he would be the best person for this role. Akbar agreed too. Now we are working the logistics to start and launch this film."
Akbar Khan is best known for directing the epic serial Akbar The Great, The Sword of Tipu Sultan and Taj Mahal-An Eternal Love Story.
The film is likely to go on floors early next year and there are plans to shoot on real locations in Iraq.
Khan is looking forward to this movie as a challenge.
"It’s a very challenging role. Saddam is a very controversial personality and the world opinion is divided into two parts. For half the world he was a hero and for the other half he was a villain. I am looking forward to playing this role," he said.
The actor-filmmaker, who is in the midst of finalizing his own home production which he described as a ‘thriller with family sentiments’, said Burney had been in touch with him for over a year and half for making a film on Saddam.
"Co-incidentally, Suresh Kohli wanted to make a film with me and I gave him Burney’s book. He liked it so much that he shelfed his original story and decided to go ahead with Saddam’s film,"he added.
Khan felt Saddam’s story was very topical and relevant.
"I am researching on his transition from an ordinary peasant boy to the President of his country," he said.(PTI)