Interview: Mohammad Farahani
Interview done by Moumita Deb
With Illusion, director Mohammad Farahani, taps into the mysterious world that hides between reality & illusion. Although the name suggests the film dwindles more in the world of unrealistic dreams, the answer isn’t that easy. With each scene, Mohammad simply enlarges one single, yet tremendously important question: What is reality? This question is the main force not just behind the film, but our world as well. To further explore this mystery, we asked Mohammad Farahani a couple of questions.
Moumita: Hi Mohammad, before we get to your film Illusion, can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Mohammad: I was born in a middle-class family. I was the last child of a six-member family, and my father was a taxi driver. I received my diploma degree in mathematics and physics, but my bachelor’s degree is in the field of Industrial Economics. I did various sports during my education such as cycling, football, bodybuilding, boxing, basketball and yoga. In the last few years, I’ve been following my interest in art and I have experience in acting, directing and compiling. Currently, I’m studying classical opera singing.
Moumita: How far do you think the element of mystery portrayed in this film mingles with the element of illusion created through dual masked personalities of the character’s inner self?
Mohammad: When the character of film realizes the strange events around self and this process continues throughout the story, at the end of film, we find that the issues have been left unresolved. The main character remains desperate and undecided; the mysterious image is formed automatically in the Shayan Film.
Moumita: What persuaded you to make a movie with such an unconventional theme? Were you inclined to the concept of exploitation?
Mohammad: That’s a good question. These days the media, especially the Internet, can affect the perspective an individual has of the outside world and even himself. This happens in very subtle ways, that paradoxically, are very sophisticated and numerous in the longer runs. They can lead the individual towards the desired path as well, thus, through a very calm and progressive process, the possibility of exploitation is created.
Moumita: Does the protagonist here confront his own layers of consciousness concealed behind several masks or is it just an exploitation of the protagonist by masked strangers? Can you give the audience some insight into this?
Mohammad: The second case is correct and the main character of the film is confused in dealing with masked men.
Moumita: The film deals with the involvement in the world of darkness and despair of an isolated soul. He’s evidently an introvert lacking confidence and feeling trapped. Can a film like this have a positive message for the viewers?
Mohammad: In this question, you pointed rightly to the enormous amount of darkness, frustration, and the loneliness. Conveying a positive message among all this darkness is really difficult, but sometimes experiencing darkness can be an excellent chance to continue on. In other words, seeing the darkness and not going into the darkness can be the positive message this film wishes to convey.
Moumita: “A key feature of the mask is the paradoxical way in which it’s both fixed and flexible, a passive receptacle for whatever emotions we choose to project through.” To what extent does Illusion justify this statement?
Mohammad: You pointed out an interesting fact. We live in a world where people do not show their emotions for a variety of reasons. Instead, they hide them behind masks, especially if they intend to deceive others. With Illusion, you can easily understand that leading a masked life can be hard, uncomfortable and horrible.
Moumita: In which avenues do you think the film touches upon its limitations?
Mohammad: I believe Illusion is a film that will be understood over time because, as you mentioned, it is an unconventional and non-contractual work.
Moumita: For the audience that’s looking for engaging drama, what is the thrill factor of Illusion that can keep the momentum going?
Mohammad: My goal wasn’t to directly entertain with this film. Of course, this is my first film and if I should remake it in the future, it might be turn out funnier and more attractive.
Moumita: What are the implications of the frequent telephonic conversations the protagonist has with the mysterious instructor? Do these symbolic conversations help to heighten the suspense of the film or are they projected as mere soliloquies that the protagonist creates to deceive his own self?
Mohammad: When the main character reacts desperately to the occurring events, he doesn’t notice the change in his behavior from normal to abnormal state. Another character is required to take him out of this state. That’s the main reason why the frequent calls happen.
Moumita: Finally, tell us about your future plans.
Mohammad: I am doing my best to improve my acting and directing, as well as increasing the mental capacities and skills necessary for art.
Finally, I feel my first try in filmmaking went quite well and am eager to discover what the future holds for me.
Moumita is a Kolkata based independent filmmaker and film critic. She holds a post- graduation degree in English literature from Jadavpur University. Reading novels of a wide range of authors of all genres from classic to contemporary has always been Moumita’s passion and calling. She also takes a strong liking in playing the Spanish guitar & has participated in quite a few concerts. Moumita has done her certification course in Cinematography, Video Editing and Filmmaking.