Jamil DEHLAVI is British film writer/director/producer. He was born in Calcutta, India to an Pakistani father and French mother.
Jamil Dehlavi is an independent filmmaker of Pakistani and French origin. His father was a diplomat, so the family travelled extensively between Asia and Europe before he obtained a place at Oxford. After graduating in law, he qualified as a barrister but never practised preferring instead to go into the world of cinema.
Dehlavi studied film direction at Columbia University in New York and while based there made his first feature film TOWERS OF SILENCE. The film was shown at numerous international festivals and won the Grand Prize at the Festival of the Americas. Dehlavi wrote, produced and directed it, a practice he has continued with most of his work to date.
His next film was an abstract essay on tyranny the controversial THE BLOOD OF HUSSAIN, a fictional account of a military dictatorship and the revolutionary movement against it. Shot on location in Pakistan, Dehlavi recast the martyrdom of Prophet Mohammed's grandson in the context of modern Pakistan. The film was finished a fortnight before General Zia came to power and for that sin of political clairvoyance, he was forced to leave his country and live in exile. The film was selected for the Director's Fortnight in Cannes and won the Grand Prize at the Taormina film festival.
Based in England his next feature film was BORN OF FIRE, a supernatural thriller shot in Turkey starring Peter Firth and Suzan Crowley. It was another festival favourite and won prizes at Madrid, Houston and Avoriaz.
Under Benazir Bhutto's government Dehlavi returned to Pakistan to film IMMACULATE CONCEPTION starring James Wilby, Melissa Leo, Shabana Azmi and Zia Mohyeddin. It is the story of a childless American-English couple who visit a fertility shrine in Karachi with devastating results. The shoot was not without its own difficulties as the Gulf War had just begun and anti-Western feeling was at its height. Despite the political problems, the film was completed successfully and went on to win the Special Jury Prize at the Dinard Film Festival and was selected for Panorama in Berlin.
In 1994 Dehlavi then produced PASSION IN THE DESERT for American director Lavinia Currier. Shot on location in Jordan the film stars Michel Piccoli and Ben Daniels and is based on a Balzac short story set during the Napoleonic Wars which relates the adventures of a French soldier lost in the desert in Egypt and the friendship he develops with a wild leopard.
Dehlavi's next feature film project was JINNAH which he wrote, produced and directed in 1998. Starring Christopher Lee, James Fox, Maria Aitken and Shashi Kapoor, it is a historical epic which tells the dramatic story of the partition of India and the founding of Pakistan. It received the Gold Award at Worldfest Flagstaff for Best Foreign Film, a Silver Award at Houston, the Grand Prize at the Zanzibar International Film Festival and was nominated for a Golden Pyramid at the Cairo International Film Festival.
Dehlavi, who is fluent in five languages, has also worked on various projects for the BBC, Channel Four, and French Television including QÂF - THE SACRED MOUNTAIN a homage to a volcano which won five international awards at environmental film festivals, PASSOVER a passion play shot in Cordoba made in collaboration with the celebrated flamenco guitarist Paco Peña, and THE GUITARIST which won a Gold Medal at the Atlanta Film Festival and a Silver Medal at Cannes. He has also worked in the Radio & Visual Services Division at the United Nations.
Dehlavi's last feature film INFINITE JUSTICE starring Kevin Collins and Raza Jaffrey is the story of a Jewish American journalist who is held for ransom by Muslim fundamentalists against the release of prisoners in Guantanamo Bay. The film has already received the Best European Feature Film Award at the European Independent Film Festival in France, the Robert Rodriguez Prize for Excellence at the Hollywood DV Festival, the Critic's Prize at the Amiens International Film Festival, the Audience Award at the Florence River to River Festival, the Special Jury Award at Worldfest Houston, the Fipresci International Critics Prize at the Zanzibar International Film Festival, and the Best Supporting Actor Award at the KaraFilm Festival in Pakistan.
Dehlavi has just completed his current project, GODFORSAKEN, a supernatural thriller about a fallen angel seeking redemption for the death of a child under his protection. Shot on location in England, the film stars Annabel Wright, Trevor White and Nick Ashdon.
1973 :: Guitarist
1975 :: Towers of Silence
1981 :: The Blood of Hussain
1986 :: Born of Fire
1992 :: Immaculate Conception
1995 :: Passover
1995 :: A Passion in the Desert
1998 :: Jinnah (Mohammed Ali Jinnah)
2006 :: Infinite Justice
2009 :: Godforsaken