Tuesday, May 16, 2006

End of Blogspot

This blog is officially dead, everything has been moved to my new website at

www.imranjk.com

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Future Website

Is anyone out there? Any webmasters?

I'm looking to either A. expand this blog into more of a website like this fellow's: www.hahmed.com/blog or B. put a website up like these fellows: http://thelonelyisland.com/.

Does anyone know how I could accomplish this? Does anyone want to help me build something like this?

I'm willing to compensate you for your time. Please email me ASAP: imranjkhan@gmail.com

Monday, May 08, 2006

The American Dream: Ali Minhaj 2

Ali Minhaj 2 will be up on the net shortly. It is a comedy that I hope people enjoy. It is by no means an Islamic comedy as much of the content may be questionable according to the teachings of Islam. That said, The main character is indeed muslim but this aspect of his character is not emphasized. This movie was made to apeal to a wider audience. I feel we have accomplished this goal.

Hasan Minhaj, an up and coming comedien, did a great job co-directing and acting as the main role. We are both really proud of the final product, the humor was clever, it was filmed well, and we had a blast making it. You can't really ask for more.

My future projects include: Islam: The Movie episodes and an undisclosed film project for the ISNA conference of 2006 in chicago. InshAllah I'll be able to take my skills to the next level and show them off at ISNA.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Analysis of '11th Hour'

Recently, I watched the film short '11th Hour' which follows a muslim character through an emotional return to a higher level of deen. I know very little about the creators and the director, but I will do my best to analyze the movie 'as is'.

As the movie started I immediately recognized the music. It was Sigur Ros, an Icelandic band with amazing talent. I remember saying to myself, "This movie has to be atleast decent; someone involved with it has good taste", in regards to the music selection. As we get into the film, we see the main character, Ahmed, narrating his personal transformation to a troubled youth inside of a mosque. As he begins this narration, there are some powerful images shown. In the following shot, not only was I impressed but also moved emotionally and nostalgically. The character is seen walking across some kind of parking lot passing cars in the bright sun, there are many reflections which add to the effect of the scene. Next as the camera pans to follow the character we see a fade from the 'religious' version of the character to the 'non religious' counterpart. It is very clear what is happening, as Ahmed tells his story, he is reliving previous events in the form of his previous self. This new version of himself is outwardly very different, in fact so different that for a time I was convinced that they had casted two separate actors for the role (edit: I'm actually not sure about this, maybe someone can clear that up for me). The new character is very 'emo-punk-hardcore-etc.' which I thought was very cool, again this was a decision made in very good taste. He meets his new roommates, fobby Islamic enthusiasts, and has various interactions with them and eventually changes his life to center it on Islam. And the famous line is made clear, "A man who decides to change on the 12th hour dies on the 11th."

The script was very solid, for the most part, although I found myself not agreeing with some of the choices made. The overall message worked very well in the film, what didn't work for me were the ways they explained this message. I kept asking myself what was so bad about the original Ahmed. He didn't seem like a bad guy at all, in fact I kind liked him just as much as the 'religious' version. Was it because he had dyed hair and a guitar? Does that really make someone a deviant from Islam? Oh, and the 'non-religious' Ahmed also smoked. Still, I didn't think any of these characteristics made him seem absolutely void of Islam. One theory could be that the creators did not want to show him committing haram in order to keep the film halal, but I think there are ways of at least symbolizing haram acts to convey the message that he was not headed on the straight path, the path of Islam. Another theory could be that the movie intended to reach the 'middle crowd' of muslims who were in a similar 'non-religious' state of Islam. But I think if you're going to make a movie, you might as well romanticize it and show a dramatic change. This movie showed more of a 'From barely practicing but not really doing that much haram' to 'practicing a lot and not doing any haram'. Whereas they could have taken it from an Ahmed that was committing a lot of haram and not practicing at all leading to great depression to eventually finding Islam within himself thus saving his life in both this world and the next. Maybe this was not the goal of the film, to romanticize Islam and make Islam appealing to muslims and non muslims, although I think that’s the only point of most of Islamic art. I respect whatever creative decision they made in this area. I think the only real issue here was that he didn't seem like a bad guy who was genuinely desperate for Islam.

The next issue I had with the film was the comedy; I found the tone set in the first couple minutes of the film too serious to incorporate the wacky comedy that followed. Although, I found some of the film's humor funny, it seemed a little out of place. I suppose the director felt that audiences would not appreciate a completely dramatic Islamic film, and attempted to lighten the mood. I think the movie would have been great if it was purely somber, as life generally is.

On a side note, some of the scenes seem to have no point. There is a scene in which Ahmed's jacket smells heavily of Indian Pakistani cuisine, which drags on. I did not understand the point of this scene and its relation to his transformation and to the film as a whole.

Overall, it was very well produced and unique. I applaud the creators of this film and encourage them to continue their work. I applaud the actor(s) who played the main roll, Ahmed. I really enjoyed his performance and would not be surprised if he were to be featured in a major motion picture.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

24 Salat

So many muslims and non muslims enjoy the tv show '24'. It seemed only natural to make a parody of it. It is called 24 Salat. I might have gone a little overboard with the style but insh people will still enjoy it. Recently I wrote a script for a future Islam: The Movie episode. I wasn't too sure if I should post it but I supose it might be an interesting read:

Episode 3

By Imran J Khan

Scene opens up with two brothers talking. Camera widens to reveal the two brothers working on some kind of college project.

“If you look at the overwhelming dedication to the deen of the early muslims, we have nothing even close to that. Brother, we need to step up. The message in our hands can change the world”

“Where’d you get this project from?”

“Oh, I got it from this guy who’s in our class, just change the sentences around, try not to make it obvious that you’re copying….anyways, I think the ummah has a lot of problems, and its up to us to solve them. If anyone has the opportunity to change history, it’s us young muslims living in America…”

“Wait is this a ‘B’ or an ‘8’? I can’t tell….hey also are you sure the teacher won’t notice we just rearranged someone else’s work?”

“Oh that’s an 8….yea it should be fine I’ve done it before, the professor doesn’t really care too much……right so, I really believe that if we come back to the deen in its purest form and just follow all of its teachings like treating others fairly especially in dealing with non-muslims, we could really have an impact on the world. I think they should really see us as examples of honesty.”

“Yea I totally agree, but you should probably start copying you only have 10 minutes bro."

Friday, March 31, 2006

Islam: The Movie

Islam: The Movie is indeed my boldest feet to date (which isn't saying much). The project is basically weird/obscure comedy along with finely tuned precision. Or atleast that's the goal. The interesting thing about Islam: The Movie is that people aren't supposed to like it. Actually, let me rephrase that, MOST people aren't supposed to like it. American Muslims and any other kind of Muslims aren't entirely open to new forms of entertainment and ideas the way American audiences are. Muslims seem to lack an open mindedness in the arts, which is understandable considering the fact that much of the so called "art" that exists could be haram, I suppose. It is difficult for an Islamic artist to be both accepted by the west and his fellow Muslims simultaneously. It might be impossible or take a long time; perhaps one's whole life. This is because when you step into the realm of becoming a credible, serious artist in the west, you're usually doing things that are compromising your Islam, but I'm sure there is a middle ground somewhere.

Each episode in Islam: The Movie should explore a new idea or concept. My idea is to show things on screen that haven't been characterized in movie format ever before. This ultimately, might result in more riske episodes, which is pretty self evident after Episode 2. I don't particularly like calling them "MSA Videos" because I don't want to associate these works with an Islamic organization. I don't think that would be a good idea considering the controversial topics that might be covered.

Also, Islam: The Movie is just a scratch piece of paper, a napkin that I can use to jot ideas down and watch them come alive. It gives me an opportunity to practice film making, and 'create' art from scratch, instead of 'parodying' existing American shows and movies. I hope at some point I've answered the questions 'why?' and 'what's the point?'. Some people might not get it, but then again there's no way I could take everyone along for the ride anyways.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Islam: The Movie Episode 2

I have recently pulled Islam: The Movie Episode Two from the internet because of an actor's request. In my next post I will discuss the series, its concept, and its future direction inshallah.