Umar Agha, a film graduate from Columbia University, saw the 9/11 aftermath unfold in front of his own eyes. Sick of the extremism that everyone associates with Islam, he decided to research about the history of his faith which led him to discover the legend that is Saladin (Salah ad-Din Yusuf ibn Ayyub).
He was overwhelmed by how Saladin rose above all the hate and violence prevalent during his time. Umar decided that instead of going to producers in Hollywood, with his idea, he would come to Pakistan and shoot in Lahore. The scale at which this movie is being made is insane and unlike anything ever been made in Pakistan, before. Battles, animation, and an epic story line, Agha is giving even the biggest filmmakers a run for their money. But he’s in need of funds to actually bring the project to completion.
He has shot a teaser without any funding, and is now looking for some serious funding to create a proper proof-of- concept trailer to pitch to interested Hollywood producers. Here’s a look at the teaser:
Hollywood is now starting to take note of this impressive movie teaser
who was Saladin and why does he deserve to have a film made about him?
Saladin, born into a prominent Kurdish family, was the founder of the Ayyubid Dynasty and the most prominent leader of the Muslim opposition to the European Crusades in the Levant. He also liberated Jerusalem from under the Crusaders and is known as one of the greatest leaders in Islamic history. Even in the West, he repeatedly praised for his generosity, compassion, and chivalry.
And what makes Saladin so legendary?
He accepted the surrenders of the Jews he was fighting during battle. He, then, invited them back to the city, to continue living the way they were, who then hailed him as the new Cyrus. He set the King of Jerusalem free after defeating and capturing him in battle. And then when King Richard fell off his horse, mid-battle, fighting against Saladin, he sent two of his finest horses his way to help the king.
We live in a time where extremism and intolerance are sharply rising. The loudest voices are naturally the most violent ones and the government isn’t doing much to take back the narrative from the militants.
This is precisely what Umar wants to change with his project, and his multi-cultural team spread across the globe reflects Saladin’s own court, which included Maimonides and other non-Muslims as well. Saladin, while very actively militarily, focused even more on the Great Jihad, the inner struggle, to control greed, anger and the desire for indiscriminate vengeance. When he passed away as the most powerful and accomplished Sultan in the Middle East, his family couldn’t find enough money in his personal treasury to pay for his own funeral. Maybe today’s leaders can learn a thing or two from Saladin as well.