Muhammad, the most expensive film ever made in Iran, which is part of the trilogy chronicling the life and times of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), released in Iran on Thursday.
Directing by eminent Iranian filmmaker Majid Majidi, the 171-minute film cost around 40 million USD and took more than five years to complete. The budget of the film was partly funded by the Iranian government.
Mr. Majidi, who won Academy Award nomination for ‘Children of Heaven’ in 1999, says the aim of the film is to reclaim the rightful image of Islam and Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
“Unfortunately at this time the impression of Islam is of a radical, fanatical and violent religion, which is not what it's about,” he said in Montreal, where the movie had its international premiere on Thursday.
“Islam is a religion of peace, friendship and love, and I tried to show this in the film,” he added.
The first part of the trilogy, the film chronicles the childhood of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in Saudi Arabia more than 1,400 years ago.
Produced by Mohammad Mehdi Heidarian, the film was shot in Iran and the South African city of Bela-Bela, where the crew recreated Saudi Arabia of 1,400 years ago.
Croatian production designer Miljen Kreka Kljakovic recently released a series of stunning photos and sketches depicting the larger-than-life sets and scenes in the film.
The film features the work by three-time Oscar winning Italian cinematographer Vittorio Storaro, Italian film editor Roberto Perpignani, American special effects artist Scott E. Anderson, Italian makeup artist Gianetto De Rossi, and Indian music composer A. R. Rahman.
In order to “preserve the dignity” of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), ‘Muhammad’ was excluded from competition in Iran's Fajr festival in February and was showcased separately.
It is the second major cinematic project on Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). The first, ‘The Message’, was made in 1977 by Syrian-American filmmaker Moustapha Akkad.
The announcement about the other two parts of the trilogy has not been made yet.