Nayla Al Khaja, widely recognized as the first female filmmaker from the UAE, is teaming with Oscar-winning composer A.R. Rahman on her very personal upcoming project, Baab. The collaboration came about in quite a simple way, Al Khaja told Deadline at our Cannes Studio: “I’ve always had my ears on his music and I just simply messaged him over Instagram and he responded… That’s as simple as it gets,” she laughed.
Rahman, whose credits include some 160 films such as Lion, Slumdog Millionaire, 127 Hours, I, Million Dollar Arm and OK Jaanu; said Al Khaja caught him “in the zone.” He had been in the UAE where he formed the first women’s orchestra in the area and built a studio. “I spoke to her for 10 minutes and I knew what she was doing and where is she from and how multicultural she is, how she understands geopolitics the west, the east, the Middle East and she’s a big fan of Hindi cinema, Indian cinema, and we vibed.”
The art-house fantasy follows Wahida, who tries to get over her dead sister by going through the four stages of grief, but not in a linear way. “It takes you from reality to fantasy through her ear because she has tinnitus and that’s where the sound design and music plays a very big role,” the filmmaker explained.
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