Faisal Saif is the mind behind the incredible idea of ‘Islamic Exorcist’, the first film that deals with exorcism in Islam. We were impressed with the concept and the trailer that hit the Internets and got in touch with the man. Here’s our interview:
What is the concept behind Islamic Exorcist?
Till date, whatever horror films, whether Indian or Hollywood, we have seen a priest doing the exorcism, a Catholic girl getting possessed, or a Tantrik doing the exorcism. In Asia, or even in English films, we have never experienced Islamic horror. My film deals with the idea of Islamic exorcism.
What was the reaction of your cast?
When I told my cast and crew that I wanted to make a film on Islamic exorcists, they were shocked. Even they thought that there would be a priest who’d be reading the Quran verses, just like how the priests do and the Ghost will communicate with the priests. I clarified it to them, that that is not the way Islamic exorcism happens. There’s a different way of exorcism in Islam.
You have to go to a graveyard late at night and you have to look for a newly arrived dead body that is being buried. You have to get the dead body out. You then have to write the verses of Holy Quran on the dead body to perform this exorcism.
I gave them a few references about how this kind of Voodoo happens in Iran. Similar kind of black magic happens in India also from Islamic or whatever culture. In Islamic culture, it is pretty dangerous. This is what I explained to them and showed them a few references on YouTube.
What kind of research did you carry out for Islamic Exorcist?
I was in touch with a foundation called Al Rukiya Foundation in London. They have been doing this exorcism since a long time and they do it on a regular basis. They helped me during this film.
So, what is the different thing that we will see in Islamic Exorcist?
Have you ever seen a dead body coming out of the grave and Islamic verses being written on it? If you want to see it, see it in Islamic exorcism.
How was your experience shooting for Islamic Exorcist?
Once the cast and crew understood the story, it was very easy. We were prepared and had rehearsed before going on the set, because we were shooting this film on shoe string budget. In horror films, you use a lot of computer graphics and CG. I was warned by my technicians that were would be no CG work in this film.
So you will not see a flying ghost in it. You will not see a ghost, a woman who roams around in a white saree. You will see something called ‘controversial horror’ which nobody has tried to show you.
Do you think it is true that people don’t make horror films because of budget constraints?
There are several films that can scare you without CGI and opticals. For example Ram Gopal Varma’s Raat. It scared you with the camera. It was always the camera that was moving, the leaf sound, the car accelerator sound, that is what scared you. Without involving CG, people can scare you.
So, this was what he shared with us about his film. But when two horror fans meet, there’s a lot of conversation that goes on. That’s covered in Part II of our interview with the extremely interesting man, Faisal Saif. Stay tuned!
Meanwhile, you can go ahead and watch the trailer for ‘Islamic Exorcism’ here:
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