Almost three years ago, Moonlight Pictures was approached by Amin Dawdy, screenwriter and follower of Sufism, to collaborate on an audio book and documentary on the life of Hazrat Inayat Khan, an Indian Sufi mystic who brought Sufism to the West in the early twentieth century. The project, which was examining his life, his quest for peace and happiness, and his incredible spiritual influence on the world, was clearly a big job. It involved conveying the philosophy and truths that Inayat Khan lived for, representing not just a single man’s life, but his role in channeling spiritualism to millions.
The audio book, in which Inayat Khan tells his story in his own words, with poetic commentary by Omid Safi, Ph.D., Director of the Islamic Study Center of Duke University and Tom Alter, as the voice of Inayat Khan, was created, and Moonlight realized that more had to be made on this incredible life.
Today, we are excited to announce that we will now be making a feature film on Inayat Khan. With pre-production now in full swing, we are currently rediscovering the feel, historical events, and sentiment of Inayat’s twentieth-century life, and working on a script.
Inayat Khan was born in 1882 in Baroda, now called Vadodara, Gujarat to a muslim family of musical and philosophical influence. While growing up, his home was the center of art; poets, composers, mystics, and thinkers would visit constantly to discuss politics, music, and philosophy. His grandfather, who was nick-named the Beethoven of India due to his famed work as a musician, influenced young Inayat to learn music himself. By 18, he was touring India, and performing old Indian classical music that he believed carried spiritual qualities that were fading from the culture.
Meanwhile, as Inayat connected more and more to his music, and became famous around the country for his performances, his connection to spirituality became more prominent. Always there was his belief that there is oneness between all; that all religions have value. This led to his musical connection with Sufism, which ultimately brought him to the United States in 1910.
Hazrat Inayat Khan’s influence in the world was vast-- he believed that beyond anything else, music is the harmonious thread of the universe. You can feel his mystic power in his poems, writings, and the music that he left behind.
On February 5, the world celebrated Inayat Khan’s Urs, or death anniversary, at Nizamudlin Dargah, Delhi, where the sufi was laid to rest in 1927. The Urs was observed by followers of his teachings from around the world, as well as the Moonlight crew. While engaging in this spiritual celebration, we were capturing and interacting with those whose have been most impacted by Inayat’s legacy.
Our feature film will be a compelling, fresh drama following his enormous life from Baroda to New York and Paris. It will be a non-linear story, capturing Inayat’s most important moments, including his accomplishments, losses, and inner moments of meditation.
This is not just a normal film-- we want to convey the power and beauty of his expression, we want to convey the spiritual and philosophical thoughts that drove Inayat Khan to live the way he did. The legacy of his life lives on today, 91 years since his passing-- after watching our film, you won’t have a doubt in your mind why.
We will be posting more about this upcoming project as developments come up!
“The nature of life is such that it easily excites the mind and makes one unhappy in an instant. It makes one so confused that one does not know where to take the next step. In contrast with this, the mystic stands still and inquires of life its secret; and from every experience, from every failure or success, the mystic learns a lesson. Thus, both failure and success are profitable to him.”
- Hazrat Inayat Khan