“Rostakhiz” directed by Ahmadreza Darvish is the first historical-religious film in the history of Iranian revolutionary cinema, in which the faces of innocents, including Hazrat Abbas (pbuh) and Hazrat Ali Akbar (pbuh), are depicted. In the 32nd Fajr Film Festival in 1992, there are objections to showing these parts of the film in public screening.
Bahadur Zamani is a young actor who played the role of Hazrat Abbas (AS) in “Restakhiz”; The role that can be played if the film is released can keep this young actor alive in people’s minds. We talked with Zamani about his experiences in the movie “Resurrection” and he says that one of the reasons he was chosen for this role is his resemblance to the idols of Hazrat Abbas (AS).
He faced various reactions during the screening of this film at the Fajr Festival, and says: Many people cursed me only because I played the role of Hazrat Abbas (PBUH).
On the occasion of Hosseini’s Ashura, we had a conversation with Bahadur when you read:
How was your choice to play the role of Hazrat Abbas (AS) in the movie “Rastakhir”?
The story of my choice to act in this work is very long, but in short, I must say that my appearance in the movie “Resurrection” is a street incident and every other incident that happens in the field of actor selection in the cinema these days is completely absurd. was not Before “Restakhiz”, I had experienced 2 film works with Kazem Rast Giftar and Mohseni, but I was not a well-known figure in the field of cinema.
During those years, I was doing cultural work, and a friend had taken pictures of me at several cultural and artistic events, and considering that he was a professional photographer, he had also taken pictures of Ahmadreza Darvish at other events, because my house is close to Darvish’s office. One day, this friend called me and said that I want to go to Darvish’s office to give him his photos, you come there too, so that I can transform your photos.
When I was waiting for my photographer friend to come downstairs from Ahmedreza Darvish’s office, I saw a friend from my student days and he thought that I had come to Darvish’s office to play, I said that I did not know about this story, he said that Darvish had been in production for some time. A movie has started.
At that time, I found out that such a project is underway and young actors are being auditioned for film roles. I wanted to take a test at Darvish’s office, but it didn’t happen that day or the following days. I was following the story through my friends, but I didn’t find the entry way to audition for this film until I gave up on the story.
Later, at a conference, Ahmadreza Darvish’s assistant saw me and asked me to go to the office to audition for the role of one of the first characters in the film. I immediately felt what role I wanted to play. For a month, Darvish and his colleagues took the most difficult tests and make-up samples from me until they decided to give me the role of Hazrat Abbas (AS).
I joined this project in 1987, and this movie was supposed to go in front of the camera at the beginning of 1988, but because the beginning of filming coincided with the 1988 elections, and for other reasons, the filming was postponed. I thought that “Resurrection” would not go in front of the camera, but fortunately, the film went in front of the camera in February of 1988.
So you were waiting for a year to act in this movie and undoubtedly you had to prepare yourself to act in the movie during this time?
Yes, to play in “Resurrection”, I had to keep my hair and features long for almost a year and not touch my face. In addition, considering that I was supposed to play the role of Hazrat Abbas (AS), I had to have a strong body, that’s why I increased my weight to more than 100 kilos in 2 months and did heavy sports. Due to the fact that during this time I appeared in society with a different face and with long hair and features, and due to the fact that my body had become muscular and large due to the sports I had done, I was viewed differently in society. I would face Of course, I loved cinema and this role so much that I followed these hardships and maintenance of my physique and face.
In addition to the fact that I needed to keep my physical condition ready for the role, in this one year I started researching to play in this film and such a role, and I did not allow myself to use only my general possessions on the topic of Ashura. It was very interesting for me that I am going to play the role of a character whom I have known since childhood. Of course, it was very difficult for me to play such a role, because there was no similar example of playing such roles in Iranian cinema, and this was the first time that the image of Masoomin was going to be shown in a movie.
What research did you do to play this role?
Abbas (PBUH) is a legend in Iran, Abbas Ibn Ali is not only a religious and historical figure in Iran, but also a legend of loyalty. We have various myths in Iranian literature and history, but we never had a myth of loyalty, and Hazrat Abbas (pbuh) is the biggest and most important myth of loyalty in Iran.
The whole charm of the story is that Hazrat Abulfazl is a great energy and full of hope. Abbas (pbuh) is the one who heals and is transnational and everyone loves him. There are only 2 things about Hazrat Abbas (pbuh), the first is the scene of martyrdom on the day of Ashura and the second is his speech in Mecca, and the other sources were mostly quotes and indirect interpretations of this character. In such a situation, I was supposed to play the role of Hazrat Abbas (AS) and I had to meet many people in this field so that I could know his character well.
In the meantime, I decided to find the character of Hazrat Abbas (AS) to visit the survivors of the war, those who fought for the soil of this land for 8 years and many of them live as veterans all over the country. In fact, I could have found Hazrat Abbas (AS) much better with these people.
In addition, I asked Hazrat Abbas (AS) to show me his existence so that I can play this role. In this regard, I encountered something that I could not find anywhere. In the sequences and plans, I encountered an energy that was unlike anything else. Only in some places could we find such a thing, which was made by Hazrat Abbas himself.
There is no scenario or narrative for Hazrat Abbas (AS). There is not even a documented picture of Hazrat Abbas (AS). We don’t even know why Hazrat Abbas (AS) took knowledge. Why is it that among all the men who are in Imam Hussain’s army, only Hazrat Abbas (as) is the commander of the army who holds knowledge in his hands. We don’t even know that the culture of insignia in war means that the bearer of the insignia does not want to be seen in all its power and majesty.
There were many issues that I should have known about Hazrat Abbas (AS), why Hazrat Abbas was named Qamar. But this is not the philosophy of giving the attribute of Qamar to Hazrat Abbas (AS). Hazrat Abbas (pbuh) has a nature and one should find the nature of everything attributed to him.
Why does Earth have only one moon? The moon is a massive celestial body at a distance from the earth, which pulls everything that comes towards the earth and has the possibility of hitting the earth towards itself and knocks it to itself and actually sacrifices itself to the earth. This is why Hazrat Abbas is called Qamar, because he sacrificed himself to Imam Hussain (AS).
Of course, in the history of religious cinema, we have people like Dariush Arjamand, who played the role of Malik Ashtar, or Fariborz Arabnia, who played the role of Mukhtar, artists who were able to cope well with their roles, but I have no doubt that these artists are also because Those who were immersed in their roles were involved in these roles for a long time. I also couldn’t cut my features after the end of the movie and I loved this face more than anything and I was very sad when I cut my hair and features.
When I was talking with the make-up designer “Rastekhiz”, she believed that she had used existing statues to design the face of Hazrat Abbas (AS).
Mohsen Mousavi, the make-up and make-up designer of this film, can be considered a talented artist in the field of make-up. The way he dealt with me made a lot of things easier for my game. If I was able to play a role in this film and if the audience thinks that I acted well in this film, I owe most of it to Mohsen Mousavi. Although Mousavi had many assistants to make up the characters, he personally made me up. The first time I saw him, he took one look at my feet and said sit down, I want to make everything right. Of course, I know that he auditioned a lot for the role and finally he liked me for this role.
I have never had the experience of heavy make-up and to the extent of religious work. The first day my makeup was done to go on set, when I looked at myself in the mirror I felt that my makeup was really bad and that I looked too gross. But later, when I saw myself in the movie, I realized that the type of lighting, scene and clothes were such that until the end the make-up was natural and real.
For the make-up of the role of Hazrat Abbas (AS), the base of my face did not change, and there were no changes such as making the eyes more elongated, make-up of the lips, eyebrows, etc. It was not done on my face, even the hair and features were for me, but the way they were processed and brought to a cinematic dimension brought my face closer to the character of Hazrat Abbas (AS) and I did not doubt that Mohsen Mousavi designed the face of Hazrat Abbas (AS). ) referred to the idols attributed to Hazrat Abbas (pbuh).
One of the charms of this movie that caused problems for it was showing the innocent faces. Before being offered to play such a role, did you not like to see Masoomin’s face on the screen?
From the beginning, Ahmadreza Darvish told me that due to the display of innocent faces in “Resurrection”, this work could have risks, and from the very beginning, the pictures were supposed to be shown. Darvish never talked to us about not showing the pictures either before or after the filming, in fact we did not have such an appointment and otherwise Darvish should be accountable to his actors.
Before this film, I did not have a proper and accurate acquaintance with Hazrat Abbas, and when I appeared in the film, I started my research in this field and got different opinions in this field.
Why does this film have a different appeal, because we are one step closer to Imam Hussein (AS), we do not see Imam Hussein (AS) in this film, in my personal opinion, Abbas (AS) could have done much better in this film. portrays Imam Hussain (a.s.), while for the first time the character of Abbas (a.s.) has a scenario and dialogue in a film. We could see Abbas (AS) further so that Imam Hussain (AS) can be seen more. Anyway, “Resurrection” is the first experience in making this type of religious and historical films.
One of the objections to this film is the martyrdom scene of Hazrat Abbas (AS), which is one of the most important and painful tragedies in the Shiite world. Considering that you played this role yourself, don’t you think that this scene could have been done better?
First, I must say that few people saw the film at the festival, and you have to wait for the film to be judged by the people, because in the end, it is the people who judge whether the film is good or bad. We are all people who believe in this story and know how important the martyrdom of Hazrat Abbas (AS) is. We also liked that all the films were one-sided and the martyrdom story of Hazrat Abbas (AS) was one-sided. I also wanted to change my mood when I listen to the music of this movie.
A lot of hard work has been done by the entire group for that scene, even a number of actors were injured during the performance of this scene. Ahmadreza Darvish twisted his leg in this sequence and his horse ran over him and he had to go to the hospital. I remember that for this scene, some of the extras were damaged and this showed the efforts of all the actors of the film.
The movie “Resurrection” is the story of Bekir’s narration of the Ashura event, and everything is presented from Bekir’s point of view in this film. Hazrat Abbas is introduced to the audience through Bakir’s eyes, for this reason it can be justified that Abbas’ martyrdom was so little that because Bakir sees the same amount of Abbas’s martyrdom. We should see these logics in the movie and pay attention to it.
All the actors of “Resurrection” labored with love for this film. I remember that in the Alqamah scene, every time I pushed aside the straws to get to the water, the straws would break and fall to the ground, and because this scene was shot several times, one of the children would take these straws many times with great effort. He would collect it and assemble it again, even the cameraman was in the water for 2 days to capture the scene of removing the water.
Very magnificent plans have been taken from this film, which did not suit the director in the film. One of the hard plans of this section is to capture muskets by Hazrat Abbas (AS). Abbas was the concern of this film and this film has no meaning without Abbas.
Of course, one should not ignore the efforts of Taghi Aliqlizadeh, the producer of this movie. He is a special person, of course, all the producers of Iranian cinema are different people, because working in this situation where culture is at the last level, creating a cultural effect requires high intelligence, and as a result, our producers are much smarter than other producers. Hollywood and Bollywood. A lot of money was spent on “Resurrection” and Aliqlizadeh was able to get this movie in front of the camera.
Making historical and religious works can be a way for the artist to express the words of the society. Given that this film was made during a time of political turmoil, did you feel such an atmosphere in “Resurrection”?
I didn’t see anything like that in the movie. I doubt that Ahmadreza Darwish sacrificed this film for politics, the spirit I saw from Ahmadreza Darwish was still the spirit of a warrior. Even when I had created the atmosphere of crying for the farewell sequence, he asked me to put on a happy face because Abbas (AS) is aware of this choice and prepares wholeheartedly for battle. I don’t think that a director who has understood such subtleties wants to make political profit from such a film.
By playing the role of Hazrat Abbas (PBUH) and the different position of this character in society, Bahadur Zamani becomes one of the different actors in Iranian religious cinema, how is he supposed to use this opportunity in cinema and acting?
If anyone thought that I am in the cinema because of visual beauty and that I am only proud of the fact that I played a character who is known as the most beautiful face in the Ashura event, they are wrong. Because I believe that there is a lot in divine abundance. Undoubtedly, in this same Tehran, you can easily find a large number of young people who have more suitable faces with more suitable visual appeal.
I don’t think that there is no one like me and therefore I don’t expect to be popular because of my physical condition in cinema. It may be the visual appeal or acting in such a role and such a film that creates popularity, but that is not everything.
Thanks to the presence of Hazrat Abbas (AS) and his sanctity in the Shia community, it is possible that this popularity exists. Of course, this movie has not been released yet, but because of the photos that have been published, I am getting the attention of many people in the society, while besides this popularity, there are people who did not like anyone to play this role and the image Hazrat Abbas, I have been cursed, especially during the screening of this film at the Fajr Film Festival.
Considering that you have played the role of Hazrat Abbas (PBUH), can this role have an impact on your other choices and are you forced to play only positive roles?
There is a culture in our society that everyone wants to be a good person. Something that does not exist in Western culture. In Iranian cinema, we have never had a bad guy, and if we had, the number of them is very few, people in Iran only identify with the hero of the story. Like the people of my country, I have this kind of personality and I always like to play the role of good people.
I think that my goodness lies in playing the role of Hazrat Abbas (a.s.) from now on to play the role of good people, and considering that I think that this is my goodness, I will not force myself. But I think wearing white is better than wearing black.
Besides cinema, what other activities do you follow?
Currently, I am only working in the field of music. Of course, I worked on music long before the cinema, but after a while and after the movie “Resurrection”, I decided to be even more selective in music. Besides that, I also do activities in the field of visual arts, which include making sculptures and designing 3D panels. Of course, maybe one day I will set up an exhibition of it.
These days, cinema does not help me in terms of income, and that’s why I follow other fields of art, especially music, and I have a completely professional view of music. Of course, I had and still have many offers to appear in the cinema, which were significant roles.