Film highlights saga of Khorfakkan’s resistance - GulfToday

Film highlights saga of Khorfakkan’s resistance


The film sheds light on the region’s history and shows us the spirit of our ancestors.

The historical film “Khorfakkan 1507” has brought to life the epic resistance put up by Khorfakkan’s inhabitants during a ruthless Portuguese invasion over 500 years ago led by naval commander General Afonso de Albuquerque. For the first time in UAE cinema, this important piece of history has been adapted to screen, and is based on the book, Khorfakkan’s Resistance Against the Portuguese Invasion of September 1507, written by His Highness Dr Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah.

A Sharjah Broadcasting Authority production and developed by specialists of historical productions, Get Go Films Limited, the film documents the situation and the local way of life in the city as described in Sheikh Sultan’s book, with this Portuguese invasion of the Arabian Gulf and UAE’s eastern coastline (1504–08), as the main highlight. The film has been directed by renowned Irish director Maurice Sweeney.

The project was closely followed up by His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah, who was present during preliminary shoots, and oversaw aspects of the production process, site allocation and costume design – to afford the highest level of authenticity to the film, which represents a key event that went on to shape the history of Sharjah and the region.

A team of more than 300 people, including Arab and Emirati artists and producers have merged their passions together to beautifully depict not just how the locals fought the Portuguese colonisers, but also how they lived in the 1500s.

At that time, Khorfakkan was part of the Kingdom of Hormuz and run by one of its governors. Life in Khorfakkan city was peaceful at the time, inhabited by local tribes and people from neighbouring countries, including India and Persia, all coexisting in harmony.

The obstruction of peaceful life in this community was created by a change of events marked by the arrival of the Portuguese fleet of six ships that chase a local boat to arrive at Khorfakkan’s shores. Quickly, the local boat turns and redirects itself towards Khorfakkan’s Sira island, now known as the ‘shark island’, to inform locals about the Portuguese arrival.

The film shows the brutal invasion where entire villages were in flames and entire families were being killed, but the locals led by the character named ‘Abu Ali’ played by actor Mohamed Amiri, did not surrender. 

Syrian actor Rasheed Assaf plays the character of General Afonso de Albuquerque. The film’s cast also includes Emirati actors Ahmed Al Jasmi, Mohammed Al Ameri, Dr Habib Ghloum, Mansour Al Fili, Abdullah Bin Haidar, Abdulrahman Al Mulla, Mohammad Juma, Ashjan, Bodour, and late actor Hameed Sambeej, Qais Shaikh Najeeb and Qasim Melho.

All the scenes of the film were shot on Khorfakkan’s shores, its farms, mountains and ancient city under the expert supervision of Irish cinematographer and director of photography, Richard Kendrick. The venues were carefully selected to be as close to the actual sites of the 1507 events, as possible.

Mohamed Hassan Khalaf, Director General of Sharjah Broadcasting Authority and Executive Producer of “Khorfakkan 1507”, said: “The devotion of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah in preserving and presenting the region’s history adds immense value to our culture. This film, for example, has opened an important window to the UAE’s crucial historical events, which we may not otherwise be able to learn about. Turning one of the region’s most critical historical episodes into a film translates the vision of His Highness to reach out to all age groups and segments of society.”

“His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah started researching Khorfakkan in his novel The Hidden Hatred, and furthered it with this new book. The film is one of the greatest historical epics based on our local history and showcases the heroism and undaunting spirit of our ancestors, which shone through the Portuguese invasion. It is certainly one of the most authentic historical testimonies offered to the UAE and Sharjah,” he added.

The multiple-language version film (MLV), produced in two languages Arabic and English, premiered on Saturday 13 April at a special event, after the inaugural ceremony of the Sharjah – Khorfakkan Road and other new projects in the locale. The inauguration of Khorfakkan Road was broadcast live on Sharjah Broadcasting Authority’s TV and Radio channels, including Sharjah TV, Al Sharqiya Channel of Kalba, Al Wusta Channel of Al Dhaid and Sharjah Radio.

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