Darwiishka Soomaaliyeed

International Feature Film Project in East Africa

                                                        The Somali Darvish 

It was early 1983, Mr. S.J. Singh, the Managing Director of Delhi based business company Nikas commercial looking for a director for an International film project. He had come across many directors and finally contacted me through The Regional Director of Indian Council of Cultural Relations in Mumbai. Mr. Z. Haidar, RD of ICCR organized meeting with him. He wanted a director having good knowledge of film script writing in addition to trained the actors. In our initial meetings, he gave positive response, but I wanted to assess my own capability, so requested him for the complete details of the project and subject material of the film.

In the month of late February, Mr. Singh delivered me some books with a proposed script; it took me a month’s time to study the project and gave my consent on principle to move further in the matter. After a week’s time I received a telex from Mr. Singh’s office communicating the meeting with Hon. Ambassador of Somalia in Delhi. We met with Hon. Ambassador and discussed the film project at length, the discussion was quite satisfactory. Thereafter the Embassy facilitated my visit to Somalia to discuss the project with the concerned ministry and related officials of the project.

We reached Somalia on 23rd march1983, I was treated as state guest and staying arrangements were made In Jubba Hotel Mogudishu. We had initial discussions with Mr.  Ibrahim Cawed Maxamed “Khooli”, the GM of Somali film agency and also with the Minister of Information and social guidance. Mr. Syyed Salha, the writer and casting director and Mohd. Dirshe were the regular visitors and we had heart to heart discussion about the film. During our stay Somali government arranged a tour to visit the some film related historical places. We stayed for eleven days, but nothing concrete had come out as some Hollywood company was already doing the spade work for the proposed project. Though our initial meetings were satisfactory, but the government was hanging in balance to assign the project to India. As we were about to leave, sudden at last moment, I was communicated by the GM of Somali Film Agency that I must keep myself free and I would be called very soon to Somalia for the final discussion. We came back on 7th April back to India.

After we came back, the Somalia Film agency was regular in my contact and on 1st May 1983, I received a telex from Nikas India that the Govt. of Somalia wants us to be in Somalia on 11thMay 1983 to see the final arrangements and to work on the script.

The discussions about the Syyed film project were carried on with Managing Director Mr. Ibrahim Cawed Mohd. “khooli” of Somalia film agency and concerned ministry including writer and casting director Mr. Syyd Salah Ahmad, Mr. Mahmud Dirashe Hirsi and Ms. Janet Hayman, the project  in charge of Darvishka Somaliyeed . Eventually on 28 May 1983 we were called to meet the Hon. President of Somalia Democratic Republic. The Hon. President communicated that his government is very happy with the Indian Director and his government made up the mind to give the Syyed Film Project to India.

The stay in Zubba Hotel in Mogadishu was extended further. As a director of this proposed film project, I discussed the script at length with Mr. Said salah and than I was facilitated to see the locations related with the film and existing arrangements to assess the technical requirements. It took about 15 days to travel the different places in the country and to meet proposed artists and to know the technical requirements. During this period Mr. Said Salah, Mr. Dirashe and Ms. Janet Hyman accompanied me. In the mean while all the legalities were completed and the film project was awarded to Nikas Commercial India as collaborator. I was then signed the contract as director of the film the Somali Darvish on 19 June 1983 with  my technical unit including camera man, make- up artist, sound recordist and experts in art department and film editor-Amar Sneh

Brief history:

Mr. Amar Sneh came back to India to set up film unit and to make the technical arrangements  and went back to Somalia on 10th July 1983 with his assistant Mr. D. Dhananjay to prepare the shooting script and Art director Laxman Dalvi to see all the local arrangements related with the production. Mr. Amar Sneh stayed for a month in Jubba Hotel and completed the shooting script and came back to India to make the all the arrangements of his part.

On 24th Aug.1983 Mr. Amar Sneh with his complete film unit of 16 people including Mr. S. J. Singh and his officials left for Somalia and reached Barbera on 27th Aug. 1983 after two days stay in Nairobi.

Names of film unit from India

*Mr. B. Veda Prabhu (cameraman)

*R. Manjunath (assistant cameraman)

*G.B. Prabhu (assistant director)

*D. Dhananjay (2nd assistant director)

*S.S. Vichare (make-up man)

*L.P. Pangam (assistant make- up man)

*Lakshman Dalvi (Art director)

*Upendra Sood(artist)

*Ali khan (artist)

*Ajit Singh (artist)

*Balwant Suttar (carpenter)

And three people with camera and technical unit, Mr. S. J. Singh and Mr. Amar Sneh, the director.

The complete periodic arms, hand properties, dresses of Generals and military personals, caps and hats were supplied by Nikas Commercial India. Shooting equipments including cameras, lights, sound recording systems, generators were supplied by C. D. Kishor film equipment suppliers of Mumbai(India).

The inauguration of film shooting was clapped by Honorable Governor at Sheikh (hill station of Somalia) on 30th Aug. 1983.

About 3000 people worked in front and behind the camera which includes artists from Somalia, Britten, America, Finis, Ethiopia, Australia, Sweden, Italy, India and many other places of Europe. Officials of government of Somalia, Film related workers, transport staff, military personals, electricians and technicians, live stock workers, sets designers, set erecting unit and interpreters.

The Hero of the film known as Mad Mulla played by Shaikh Usmaan(45years old  judge in Somalia). Film contains 72 major and 43 minor( speaking ) roles and more than two thousand extras

The film shot in Kodak color and orwo colors.

Total shooting shifts are 105 spread over 5 months including 32 double shifts. Apart from Somalia, four days shooting was done in Mumbai in Jan. 1984

The complete post shooting work was done in India at Naw Rang Lab., Tardev lab. And Bombay lab. Dubbing was done at Filmalaya Studio Mumbai.

Editing commenced on 22nd Jan. 1984 in Bombay lab. The complete work of film processing, color corrections, special effects and all the technical works were done in Mumbai. The first print got ready on 16th Jan. 1985.

Premier show was held in the auditorium of Bombay lab. on 19th Jan. 1985 in the presence of Bollywood film personalities, managing director of Somalia film agency, Hon. Ambassador of Somalia, writer of the film Mr. Said Salah, Mr. S. J. Singh, managing director of Nikas Commercial and collaborator of Somalia film agency, complete Indian film unit, V. Prabhakar the editor of the film and director of the film Mr. Amar Sneh.

The film released in late 1985 by Somalia film agency.

(The original film script, shooting script, modified script, call sheets, continuity books, contracts, research papers, editing script and schedules are preserved in the personal library  of Mr. Amar Sneh in Himachal Pradesh, India. contact No. of Mr. Amar Sneh +919324661247 (Mumbai)\ +918261088038(Himachal)

The multimillion dollar film is based on the life of Sayyed who was known as Mad Mulla fought against English rulers during 1901 to 1920. He fought 3 wars against British rulers. This film also provides the complete cultural background of Somalia.

Oopening Credit cards as appeared on the screen (the Star mark shows single credit card):

*Darwiishka Soomaaliyeed

Waxaa Samaysay Wakaaladda Fililimmada Soomaaliyeed Oo LaKaashtay NCB {P} Ltd. New Delhi (India)

*Agaasinka Filimka – Amar Sneh

*Qoraalka – Yolb Wadaag Agaasin – Saciid Saalx Axmed

*Kaaliyyaal – B. Veda  Prabhu

*film-qaadista – G.B  Prabhu

*kaaliye filim-Qaade – Manju Nath

*Goobaha filim-qaadista – Cabdulqaadir Axmed Saciid “Buufalo”

*Tiftire – V. Prabhkar

*xulka Jilaaga – Cabdiraxmaan Yuusuf Cartan

  Roller :                                       HAL-DOORKA JILIDDA

 Sayid Maxamed Cabdulle Xasan: Shiikh Cismaan Sh. Maxamud Sh. Cumar

 Xaaji Suudi: Yuusuf Xaaji Aadan

ismaaciil Mire: Xasan Cabdulle “Xasan-Ceerigaabo”

Cabdalla Shixiri: Maxamuud Ciise Cumar “Tima-Jille”

Koofil (Richard Corfield): Peter Sorivener

GIIB (Gibb): Norman Pritchard

Caarshe-Dheere (Archer): Andrew Hayman

 Sionor Pestalozza: Ali Khan

 Sir Reginald: Johnson

 General Rudolf Slatin (Basha): Mark Crocker

 Commissioner Cordeaux: Robert Koepp

 Gneral Manning: Russ Milleson

 Colonel Swayne (Cawar): Peter Hesham
Colonel Plunkett: Gary Bivings

 Xaaji Muuse Igaree: Cali Cabdi Cawcd

 Shiikh Yaxye: Cabdikariim Xaaji Ducaals

 Raage: Salaad Cali “Barakow Bullow”

 Waraame: Cabdi Kaamil Cawaale

 Sugulle: Cabdirasaaq Axmed “Aahhiro”

 Macallin Cabdulaahi: Inj. Col. Maxamed Maydhane

Sufi Bullale: Saleeban Quuleed :Diigool”

 Kaahiye: Diiriye Faarax “Bealbaal”

Deeqa: Faadumo Maxamed “Al-Xamdu”

 Tooxyar: Nuurto Xaashi Tarabbi

*Maaraynta Guudee Filimka

Ibrahim Cawed Maxamed “Khooli”


Maxamuud Diirshe Xirsi


Janet Hyman

*Agaasinka Filimka

Amar Sneh