US ‘sanyasi’, Kashi filmmaker join hands to portray Sufism onscreen

After making an audio documentary, an American ‘sanyasi’ and a Varanasi-based filmmaker have joined hands to portray the Sufism of saint Hazrat Inayat Khan on silver screen.

lucknow Updated: Feb 28, 2018 15:22 IST
Sudhir Kumar 
Sudhir Kumar 
Hindustan Times, Varanasi
US,Sanyasi,Kashi filmmaker
David Dawdy and Banaras-based filmmaker Praveen Chaturvedi at a studio in Varanasi.(HT Photo)

After making an audio documentary, an American ‘sanyasi’ and a Varanasi-based filmmaker have joined hands to portray the Sufism of saint Hazrat Inayat Khan on silver screen.

Producer, director and writer David Amin Dawdy, who calls himself a ‘sanyasi’, is writing the script of the film to spread the message of the Sufi saint.

Dawdy has teamed up with Varanasi-based filmmaker Praveen Chaturvedi who is co-producing the film titled ‘What If’.

Earlier, they have worked together on an audio documentary ‘The Odyssey of the first Sufi teacher to the West’ which was released in December last year. It is available in the form of CDs and audio clips.

“I am an American ‘sanyasi’ who is on a mission to spread the teachings of Hazrat Inayat Khan. Our feature film will be based on the life and times of Inayat Khan and beyond. I have sufficient resources required for the script and have already starting writing,” he said.

Dawdy said he met Chaturvedi a year ago while he was on a visit to Varanasi to gather information about Harishchandra ghat that had impressed the Sufi saint.

“We have already selected a wonderful name for the film – ‘What If’. This is an effort to present to the people the deep spiritual wisdom, great vision, philosophy and the appeal of harmony which unites the soul with the God,” he said.

Chaturvedi said the film was an effort to spread the message of Hazrat Inayat Khan in his own words.

According to Dawdy, Hazrat Inayat Khan was a legendary musician and saint who travelled to the West to spread the message of Sufism for the cause of humanity.

“He gave the message of peace, love, harmony and welfare of mankind. He travelled many countries across Europe and the US to spread the message,” Dawdy said.

“At 21, he was a master musician patronised by rulers of the princely states. He had deep knowledge of classical music and his memory was so sharp that he could replay any raga just by listening to it once,” he said.

Dawdy added Hazrat Inayat Khan sacrificed music for the welfare of humanity after his teacher Mohammad Abu Hashim Madani asked him to go to the West and spread the light of Sufism.

Dawdy read about the Sufi saint for the first time in 1972 and was impressed by his philosophy. “In 1983, I got an intuition to spread the saint’s message across the globe,” he said.

After a long gap, Dawdy started reading about Inayat Khan in 2010. He studied Khan and his works for two years. After acquiring sufficient knowledge, Dawdy travelled to Varanasi, Mysore, Vadodara, Madurai, Tanjore, Shillong, Nepal and the countries which the saint himself visited.

“I wanted to have a firsthand experience of the culture of the places which Khan had visited. I visited Hyderabad, Vadodara and many other cities of India as well as Europe and America to gather information about the Sufi teacher,” he said.

First Published: Feb 28, 2018 15:22 IST