An astonishing treasure of the silent cinema, Shiraz is an ambitious and elegant film that takes creative license with the story of the life and death of the 17th-century Mumtaz Mahal (Enakshi Rama Rau), the Mughal empress whose early demise inspired her husband, Shiraz (Rai) to construct the Taj Mahal. Inventing a backstory involving bandits, slavers, and nobility-in-disguise, the film narrative give us a robust romantic adventure, filled with teeming crowd scenes and location shots that double as invaluable documentary.
Shot entirely on location in India, it features lavish costumes and gorgeous settings – all the more impressive in this restoration by the BFI National Archive which features a specially commissioned score by the Grammy Award-nominated Anoushka Shankar.
Produced by and starring Indian film legend Himansu Rai, the film is performed by an all-Indian cast, featuring Rai as humble potter Shiraz, who follows his childhood sweetheart Selima (Enakshi Rama Rau) when she’s sold by slave traders to the future emperor (Charu Roy).
Directed by Franz Osten
Date: Sunday, May 5th, 2019
Time: 2:15 pm
Venue: The Castro Theatre