Danish Khan – A Hyderabadi filmmaker awarded at International Film Festival for his documentery on Osmania University

Danish Khan, a Hyderabadi short Filmmaker with Aijaz khan

Hyderabad (Rahnuma) Hyderabad’s very own Danish Khan, a renowned short filmmaker added one more International Award to his kitty. It was awarded to him by AS International Film Festival, Pune for his documentary film “Osmania University – a forgotten legacy to be re-discovered”. It is his 16th Award in Film making!

To all those who do not know Danish Khan yet, here is a brief introduction. He is a self-educated filmmaker who has no formal training in the art of film making. He is the founder of the short Film industry, Telangana. He started as a theatre artist during his early days. He has also won international awards for his short film “Tragedy of Hyderabad” at London, Greece and Canada film festivals respectively. His passion for film making and love for the heritage of Hyderabad has fetched him accolades.

His recent short film “Osmania University-a forgotten legacy to be re-discovered” not only impressed the jury comprising of renowned filmmakers but also inspired them to work on such aspects of historical importance. The film was made after extensive research of 6 months, it also unfolds the clandestine agenda surrounding the controversial overnight decision of changing India’s First ever Urdu Medium University to an English medium University besides covering the origin story.

Speaking on the sidelines of the film fest in Pune with a correspondent of “The Rahnuma Daily”, Danish Khan gave us ample reasons and the purpose behind making the short film.

During the rendezvous, it was remarkable to notice Danish Khan reiterating often, the movie is purely based on historical truths and is devoid of any “figments of imagination”. However, he was quick to admit that truth is controversial and will be accepted and scorned upon equally. The Film according to him touches those events in history that have often been wrongly propagated and portrayed, it is an effort to unravel the naked truth and will encompass the whole saga from the germ of the idea to the physical entity.

At the beginning of this year, when he commenced working on the Film. He was facing unprecedented challenges, sourcing information on the origins of the university was no cup of tea. He had to run from pillar to post to gather facts. During the course of the interview, he was critical of the dearth of material and resources available in the city with regard to an institution of such historical importance! It was an eye-opener for him.

In this day and age of digital media, recognizing the penetration of the internet in society, Danish Khan thought it best to make a short film rather than compile a book, which is very sensible, given the fact how a film can have a far-reaching effect on the viewer.

His documentary is based on thorough research and not something that was stitched together from the web. On his endeavor, he met eminent historians, professors of the university and prominent research scholars.

He would make several visits to the Telangana State Archives and Research Institute and the Nizam Museum where he would sit for hours on a stretch sourcing information from the dusty records that have been sitting untouched for decades and through discussions with people who are cognizant on the subject.

He spent a fortnight in the buildings accumulating the wealth of information, thus discovering hidden treasures that were brought to life to the enthusiasts in the Film.

During the conversation, he highlighted a few key events. Like the year of the establishment of Osmania University in 1917 A.D. by Mir Osman Ali Khan and how it was an endearing dream of Asaf Jah VI Mir Mahboob Ali Khan father of Asaf Jah VII Mir Osman Ali Khan’s reign.

He further added to the story, nonetheless maintaining the air of suspense. He said the need for a University in Hyderabad can be traced back to the year 1873 when Mir Mahboob Ali Khan wished to set up an institution of prominence in his dominion.

A respected scholars Jamaluddin Afghani had left Hyderabad for in Paris in 1882 where he met Mr. Wilfred Blunt, a member of the British Parliament. When Mr. Blunt was on his way to Hyderabad on an official visit, Jamaluddin Afghani requested him to take up the matter with the Nizam. He subsequently discussed it with Mir Laiq Ali Khan, who was the Diwan.

However, the proposal could not see the light of the day, since education was in a poor state. It was recommended that the condition of primary and secondary school education should be developed first. The idea was thus dropped without any major development until Mir Osman Ali Khan took over the reins in 1911.

He gave a sigh of relief recalling how painstakingly he gathered a cache of old movies, albums of rare photographs pertaining to the library through people who come forward and contributed to the cause. It was also revealed during the discourse that there was a separate Police force established for the university and a Fire brigade as well, all respective departments had their designated badges.

When asked if this was a project funded by an organization or an anonymous benefactor? He retorted back stating, since I work alone, it is a self-funded research project. I have poured my heart and soul into the making of this film. I have invested my time and money and it is entirely my brainchild. If I had sought monetary assistance in the developmental phase of the Film, I would have been forced to portray and distort the facts as per the desire of the sponsor. Hence, I worked on it alone to convey the truth, sans outer influences.

As a closing note, Danish Khan laid importance on propagating awareness on the history of Osmania University especially among the youth and how his effort will make a difference in changing the perspective and bring to light the true history of Osmania University.

Hyderabad’s very own Danish Khan, a renowned short filmmaker
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