NRI industrialist turns actor to pay tribute to Sheikh Zayed
Abu Dhabi - He plays an Arab citizen teaching his granddaughter about virtues the UAE inherited from Sheikh Zayed.
UAE-based businessman Dr BR Shetty has played the lead role in a short film that pays tribute to the legacy of the UAE Founding Father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
In the short film 'Estimrariya' (meaning continuation) which premiered on Friday night, Shetty is an elderly Arab citizen teaching his granddaughter Gamila Yassin about virtues the UAE inherited from Sheikh Zayed. The 75-year-old actor tells the Egyptian child actor about the great leader who built hospitals, schools and planted trees, and explains the importance of 'Sadaqah Jariyah' (charity).
UAE's Minister of Tolerance Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan and Indian ambassador Navdeep Suri launched the short film in Abu Dhabi.
The ambassador said the short film creatively brought forth the key messages and teachings of Sheikh Zayed.
"As we go along in the 'Year of Zayed', all of us have many moments to remember the great man. More importantly we must internalise and implement some of the messages that he left behind for us - the value of education, importance of universal healthcare and commitment to sustainability and a greener planet. These are all ideas on which we continue to work. They continue to inspire all of us."
Suri hailed the concept of telling the story as an interaction between the child and the grandfather. He was surprised by Shetty's acting talents. "He has played his part to perfection."
Dr Shetty, chairman of NMC Healthcare and Finablr, said it was an honour to be a part of the film that exemplifies the great leader.
"In the 'Year of Zayed', there isn't a better way for me to express my gratitude to the merits the late Sheikh Zayed brought upon this nation, which I have called home for 45 years. Everything the UAE has achieved is a blossom in a tree that Sheikh Zayed planted. He was the symbol of kindness and tolerance, the building blocks of this great nation. The film emphasises on the day-to-day goodness that every citizen and resident of the UAE experiences."
Abu Dhabi-based Ullas R Koya, the writer and debutant director of the six-minute short film, said Shetty was very excited upon hearing the script.
"When I approached him with the script, he was more than happy to play the lead role. He offered us his villa in Dubai and his cherished framed portrait of Sheikh Zayed. Probably this is the first time an NRI has played a role in a film. Dr Shetty, following the path of Sheikh Zayed, has built hospitals and schools. But most of us wouldn't be lucky enough to do something like that. But each one of us can take care of someone's health, support a child's learning or plant a tree, all of which is what the film is all about. In the film we are focusing on the teachings of Sheikh Zayed and how a common man can do his bit of following the path of the visionary leader."
The director said the short film is in line with the UAE Soft Power Council.
"With this film, we are taking the UAE's 'History to the World' - the very idea behind the formation of the council."
Koya said the film was ready in December 2016 but procedural delay meant it was only released now. The 23-member crew shot the film in two days.