Flogging. Pre-marital sex. Suicide. Maverick film-maker Abdul Faththaah’s latest flick touches on taboo subjects in the Maldives.
Hahdhu (Limits), written by Mahdi Ahmed, has been watched by more than 10,000 people since its release earlier this month, garnering a 4.6 rating out of 5 on its Facebook page.
One of the most talked-about scenes is the depiction of flogging in the Maldives which takes place in public.
Flogging as a punishment has been historically practised in the country and was institutionalised in 2014. More than 90 percent people who are flogged are women, despite it taking both parties to commit the crime.
“In our flogging scene, we explored exactly how it happens in Maldives,” Faththaah told the Maldives Independent on Thursday. “When it happens, there are instances of people laughing or smiling, and children are watching too. And such incidents are humiliating for the woman undergoing flogging, and we focused on that with the character portrayed by Azza.”
The film dealt with Islamic law in the Maldivian context, he explained.
“We show how things happen in the Maldivian culture, particularly how it affects people differently – incidents such as stoning are perceived negatively by some, and positively by the others, and this is due to the social context,” he said.
“The film is for entertainment value,” he said. “We’re taking the positive and negative aspect of [limits enforced by Maldivian society] without touching on the religious aspect too deeply. We wanted to touch upon the culture of Maldives.”
The film also shines a light on mental health by featuring an attempted suicide.
”Suicide is one of the most commonly occurring issue in recent times. We also focused on how suicide is not a solution, that the soul is given by Allah, and it is very important to just live.”
The film has received rave reviews on social media, such as this tweet:
#Hahdhu was a good movie. Hats off to Fahthaah for that. Here are some impressions I got from the movie:
Warning – potential spoilers
— A. Naaif (@AlifuNaaif) September 14, 2017
“Another applaudable movie by the film industry, good to see the industry really starting to up their game. Hadhu shows a number of issues we face in this barbarous society, especially in small islands like shamming girls in the name of religion,” said a review posted on Facebook.
Faththaah said he was hoping to do a screening on every island in Maldives and there will be a further 10 screenings in Malé in January.