Maldivian filmmaker Fathimath Nahula, whose film Youssuf kickstarts the four-day South Asian Film Festival (SAFF) here Friday, has come to India with two things on her wish-list.
First, to see her film about the challenges of a deaf and dumb boy set the ball rolling. Second, to meet Bollywood superstar Shahrukh Khan.
"I really hope to meet him (Shahrukh Khan). Can someone arrange it for me?" Fathimath asked.
"While the other two Khans (Salman and Aamir) are popular in the Maldives, Shahrukh is the biggest sensation," said Fathimath, whose most recent film Yousuf has been pegged as the highest revenue grosser in the Maldives.
Speaking about Yousuf, she said the 173-minute film underlined the steely determination of a deaf and dumb boy and his right to live in normalcy along with the rest.
"We received a terrific response in Maldives. But the film's theme is universal. We are sure it will strike a chord with the viewers here," Fathimath said.
She said films from both countries were similar on several counts.
"Most of our mainstream films are musicals too and a lot of our films have a romantic storyline, like the ones in India," Fathimath said.
Hassan Sinar, producer of Yousuf who accompanied Fathimath to Goa, said the film industry in Maldives was years behind India as far as the technical aspect of filmmaking was concerned.
"Technically we are not so qualified. But we are picking up now. It's a relatively new industry in Maldives. We are making an average of five to six films a year back home. Nothing compared to the film industry here," Sinar said.