Salim Bahwan leaves behind rich legacy in film industry

March 12, 2017

Salim Bahwan and Qais al Balushi in The Final Delivery (File photo)

The film fraternity in Oman is in a state of shock and mourning following the sudden demise of noted Omani filmmaker, actor, director and producer, Salim Bahwan.

Known for his intense high-octane macho roles, Bahwan often co-produced films with production houses from India, Egypt, UAE and other GCC states. Some key figures in the film industry spoke to Muscat Daily about their memories of the late artiste.

Mohammed al Kindi, president, Oman Film Society (OFS) said, “I met him just a couple of days ago. He took membership at OFS. He wanted to extend his full support to Omani films.” Kindi added, “The first time I saw him in 1993 was in an Omani TV series named You and the Victim where he acted in a serious role. Soon after that I saw him in theatre in a comic role too. He was a very versatile actor with a unique talent but his ego was not inflated. He was committed and did everything to come out with the best.”

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He added that OFS will be holding a memorial service for Bahwan and some of his films will be shown soon. Anwar Ruzaiqi, a director said, “Salim Bahwan was always friendly and had a very pleasing personality. He has left a huge imprint on the Omani cinema. He always supported young people in all artistic and sports fields. Omani cinema will miss him a lot.”

Bahwan worked hard to unearth new talent, said actress Shamaa Mohammed. “Salim’s death has come as a shock to all as he was not suffering from any illness. He always wanted to help young people and stand for them. He used to visit various places in Oman to unearth talent.” She added, “He also helped a lot of artistes to travel abroad for their treatment. Salim will be immortal. I hope that we make a film on him, so that the future generations will know his contributions to cinema and Oman.”

Bahwan believed that Oman has a unique heritage, said Wafa al Balushi, a young actress. “Salim’s death is a huge loss for the youth and Omani cinema. He sought to produce films to showcase Oman’s beauty.” Sudha Sha, a filmmaker based in Muscat said, “I was in talks with Salim for the last few months to cast him in a Bollywood mega budget film called Imam. He was excited and perfectly fitted the role. Though we will have to now replace him, [for the film] his commitment and devotion will be missed. Oman does not have that many stars and actors and the loss of such film personalities adds to the shock and grief.”

About Imam Sudha added, “For two months we interacted and discussed and he used to come up with brilliant ideas as well. I was in Dubai for pre-production and was surprised how people there were in awe of him.” Sudha added that Salim’s celluloid image was different from that of other Gulf filmmakers as he was not confined to just traditions he was also for the modern retro style.

Sultan Khalfan, producer and owner of SnK Production, said, “I met him only once through a common friend and he was very cordial and motivating. We didn’t talk anything other than films in Oman. He was a big man but still he gave enough time to motivate me for my short films. He was a true symbol of a man who selflessly followed his passion.”

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