Former Sacred Defense filmmaker proves himself in commercial film

February 22, 2009

TEHRAN -- Saeid Soheili, whose latest comedy “Charchanguli” has become a box office hit, said that the film proves that he can also make lucrative movies.

Soheili rose to fame by such films as “A Man Like Rain,” “A Man Made of Crystal” and several other movies, all on the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war -- Sacred Defense. None of them were big moneymakers at the box office.
Afterward, he shifted to a sociopolitical theme by making “Stone, Paper, Scissors,” starring Amin Hayaii and Andisheh Fuladvand, and “Four Finger” starring Bahram Radan. They also turn out to be poor performers in terms of ticket sales at the box office.
Now his “Charchanguli” sells well as it has generated revenues of about Ten billion rials (over $1 million)
Starring Javad Razavian and Reza Shafi-Jam, “Charchanguli” tells the story of conjoined twin brothers, who differ in their perspectives.
Critics believe that film’s success owes more to its casting of TV comedy stars than Soheili’s filmmaking skills, but he doesn’t think so.
“If any other cast played in ‘Charchanguli’, the film would still be succesful for its fresh and unusual screenplay,” Soheili told the Persian service of MNA on Saturday.
“The stars by themselves can not account for the box office success,” he added.
However, he said that the two comedy stars were definitely contributing to the success of the film.
“I wrote the screenplay based on commercial film rules and arranged for good casting… anyway, a number of complex factors contributed to the film’s success,” he noted.
“By making such a film, I wanted to prove to myself and to the (Iranian cultural) officials that Soheili can make moneymaking film. If he makes ‘Stone, Paper, Scissors’ and ‘Four Fingers,’ it is because he is interested in films featuring social themes,” he explained.
Soheili plans to make two more box office hits, one of which is “Robin Hood.” Writing the screenplay has been completed and he is currently editing it.
Photo: Reza Shafi-Jam and Javad Razavian in a scene from “Charchanguli”