Deccani Souls

The film Decccani Souls has a connection to the 19th century novel Dead Souls by Nickolai Gogol in the character of Babu and the story’s structure. Themes include dreams, memory and emigration and a specific undercurrent of the story is the invasion of Hyderabad State back in 1948. The film makes extensive use of architectural locations in Bidar and Hyderabad such as Persian-style Bahmani Sultanate era Madrasa-e-Mahmud Gawan and the Qutb Shahi era Charminar with the character of Siddiq moving through time, space and both congested and empty buildings. In this narrative Hyderabad plays the role of dusty, decaying and wonderfully ornate city that both frames and becomes part of the characters. In Deccani Souls, the story and characters both reflect and gives voice to a different and more complex narrative of history while maintaining a hypnotic approach to drama.

Deccani Souls can be described as ‘Art Cinema’ in the tradition of 1960’s European and 1990’s Iranian cinema while also exploring the thin line between fiction and documentary and themes such as time, space and Islamic culture of the Deccan.

Shot on location in Hyderabad and Bidar, India and Peterborough and Toronto, Canada, Deccani Souls is a mystical journey that begins with Hamza wandering through a strange landscape of assorted debris in the winter snow-scape. He ‘dreams’ of another place and time- Hyderabad. In Hyderabad Babu works for the government as a ‘census’ collector – he acts as a kind of door-to-door salesman and initiates elaborate conversations in order to get people to sign away the forgotten yet painful history of 1948 and ‘Operation Polo’. Meanwhile the Urdu poet Siddiq struggles with writer’s block as he navigates the history and pulse of the Deccan looking for a lost essay his grandfather wrote decades earlier. They each weave through the portentous streets, cafes and chaos of Hyderabad trying to make sense of this magically tragic city.

2012 – Canada / India / USA – 106 minutes – Urdu and English – Sub-titles: English – HD Video / 16:9


YEAR : 2012
MUSIC : Hedi Hurban
FEATURING : M.A. Siddiq, Sathya Bhama, H.K.S. Babu, Mr. Sultan and Mr. Syeduddin



“Bringing out the lost culture of the Nawabi City…”
—Swati Sharma, Hyderabad, India – The New Indian Express

“A wistful perspective to the feel-good city, the film seeks to bridge the present with the past, to narrate a forgotten story in a surreal format.”
—Hyderabad, India – The Hindu

“Bir ülkeye, toprağa, eve bağlı olma hissi yetkin bir şekilde Tarkovski’nin Nostalghia’sında görselleştirilirken, bu filmde de benzer bir duyarlılığın ziyadesiyle yer aldığını, artık bir hayalet duyguya dönüşmüş olan Haydarabad nizamlığının sanal varlığını her şeye rağmen sürdürdüğünü görüyoruz.”
—Ihsan Kabil, Turkey – Star Gazette

“Deccani Souls offers wonderful in depth symbolism about the complexities of dreams and one’s place in the world…”
—Kamila Sych

“Rahman’s film tells us that the superimposition is also the tool to depict a midwinter fever-dream or memories – because as memories go, when they rain, it’s a downpour.”
—Anuj Malhotra, Floating Zoetropes

“Deccani Souls represents a history of violence and displacement that many Muslim citizens endured in Hyderabad 65 years ago; it also raises many questions about their role in India today- a symbolic return to a place that, for many, was once called home.”
—Andres Tapia-Urzua, India – Projectorhead Magazine


‘Khaas Baat’- ETV (Urdu): Interview and coverage of Deccani Souls Film
‘Special News’, Broadcast | India (September 17, 2012)

ETV (Urdu): Interview and Coverage of Mumbai Screening of Deccani Souls Film
Broadcast | India (September 15, 2012)

Live Press Conference for Deccani Souls Film at Bashirbagh Press Club
Hyderabad, India (August 28, 2012)


Star Gazette (Turkish) | Turkey (July 25, 2014)

Hyderabad: A Journey Through ‘Deccani Souls’
Daily Sabah | Turkey (May 12, 2014)

Delving into the Soul of the Past
The Times of India | Hyderabad, India (September 23, 2013)

65 Years of Operation Polo (Hyderabad State to Telangana)
University of Hyderabad Herald | Hyderabad, India (September 19, 2013)

Diaspora and ‘Home’ through Films: Reference to the Hyderabadi Muslims and the Kashmiri Pandits
Dimensions of Indian Diasporic Literature in English | Latur, India (Vol.1 p.1 September, 2013)

Documenting the Invisible: An Interview with Kaz Rahman
Braddock Avenue Books | Pittsburgh, USA (June 12, 2013)

Deccani Souls / Kaz Rahman / 2012
Projectorhead Magazine | India (Issue 8, January 2013)

The Tryst in the Hyderabad Tale
The New Indian Express | Hyderabad, India (November 4, 2012)

Deccan ki Mazi ki Jhalkiyan- Deccan hi Ruhe
The Siasat Daily (Urdu) | Hyderabad, India (September 2, 2012)

Sultan Asif Jahi ki Yaadon ko Taaza Karne ka Faisla- Itwar ko Film Release
The Rahnumae-Deccan Daily (Urdu) | Hyderabad, India (August 31st, 2012)

A Peep into the Melancholic Past of Deccani Soul
The Hindu | Hyderabad, India (August 31, 2012)

Filmmaker Takes a Trip Through Hyderabad’s History
The Times of India | Hyderabad, India (August 29, 2012)

Deccani Souls Cinema Brochure Avirpkarna
Andhra Jyothi (Telugu) | Hyderabad, India (August 29th, 2012)

September Gynapakalu ‘Deccani Souls’
Namaste Telangana (Telugu) | Hyderabad, India (August 29th, 2012)

A film for All Deccani Souls
The New Indian Express | Hyderabad, India (August 29, 2012)

Deccani Souls Film
Malayala Manorama (Malayalam) | Calicut, India (July 6, 2012)

More Information

Full Cast (in order of appearance)

MOTHER: Hedi Hurban

SON: Mayez Rahman

HAMZA: Kaz Rahman


FIRST OFFICIAL: Mohammed Imtiyaz

  1. BISWAS: Krishna Murthy

CONSUL: Rakesh Gulati

FLIGHT ATTENDANT: Dasha Molodtsova

SIDDIQ: M A Siddiq


SATHYA: Sathya Bhama


MR.SULTAN: Mr.Sultan



MR.SYED: Mr.Syeduddin

ATMA: D Srinivas

FIRST Dinner Table V.O.: Mohammed Shokath Ali


THIRD DINNER TABLE V.O.: Mohammed Wahid Murad

BABU’S SON: Kishore Kumar

Talwar/ OPERATION POLO BOOK V.O.: Hamid Afroze

GHOSTLY OLD MAN: Mr. Farukh Hussain

Crew - Hyderabad Unit

Cinematographer: Kaz Rahman

1st Assistant Director: Gautam Valluri

2nd Assistant Director: Sathya Bhama

AC: Sathya Bhama, Khalid

Sound: Gautam Valluri, Mustafa

Gaffer: Satish Mutyala

Production Manager: Gautam Valluri

Wardrobe Stylist: Gautam Valluri

Production Assistants: Suresh Nama

Historical 8mm Footage: Mohammed Faizur Rahman

‘Deccan Ka Zawal’ Poem by Bakr

Crew - Ontario Unit

Cinematographer: Kaz Rahman

AC: Po-Tau Michael Ismail Fan

Costume Designer: Hedi Hurban

Production Assistants: Jesse Pilgrim, Jeff Oussoren, Mike Vokins


Editor: Kaz Rahman

Sound Designer: Hedi Hurban

Composer: Hedi Hurban

Sound Mixer: Andrew Weller

Technical Advisor: Po-Tau Michael Ismail Fan

Audio Advisor: Andy Briskar

V.O. Translation and Subtitles: Shahid Khan

Visual Effects: Andrew Weller, Matt Reybitz

Assistants: Isabelle Strollo, Victoria Serra


Talwar/ Operation Polo Book Taken From:

‘A Report on the Post- Operation Polo Massacres, Rape and

Destruction or Seizure of Property  in Hyderabad State’ (1948)

by Pandit Sundarlal and Qazi Muhammad Abdulghaffar

Introduced by Omar Khalidi and Published in

‘Hyderabad: After the Fall’ (1988)


All Compositions: Hedi Hurban

Lyrics, Keyboard and Harmonium: Hedi Hurban

Drums: Garth Porter

Lyrics for ‘Turquoise Snow’: Kaz Rahman


except Charminar Melody/ Hymn by Sathya Bhama

and ‘Qawwali’ track: Majeed Ahmed Khan Arshi Qawwal Group

Selected Screenings

SUFICINE Festival- Konya, Turkey (2019)

Bogazici Film Festival- Istanbul, Turkey (2014)

Cinema Hall at Istanbul Sehir University- Istanbul, Turkey (2014)

Bilim ve Sanat Vakf- Istanbul, Turkey (2014)

Humanities Auditorium at University of Hyderabad- Hyderabad, India (2013)

Three Rivers Film Festival at Melwood Screening Room- Pittsburgh, USA (2012)

Central Auditorium at Maulana Azad National Urdu University- Hyderabad, India (2012)

CV Ramen Auditorium at University of Hyderabad- Hyderabad, India (2012)

Last Ship- Mumbai, India (2012)

Press Club of Mumbai- Mumbai, India (2012)

Prasads Preview Theatre- Hyderabad, India (2012)

Indra Priyadarshini Auditorium at Public Gardens- Hyderabad, India (2012)

Film Society at Calicut University- Calicut (Kerala), India (2012)

Center for Media Studies at St. Thomas College- Thrissur (Kerala), India (2012)

Film Society at Children’s Park Theatre- Cochin (Kerala), India (2012)

Transmissions Film Festival at Hauz Khas- New Delhi, India (2012)

Hollywood Theatre- Pittsburgh, USA (2012)

Union Project- Pittsburgh, USA (2012)

Special Thanks


Urdu Hall Library and Urdu Arts College, Himayatnagar (Zohar Bhai)

Centum Advertising, Begumpet (Mr. Rakesh Gulati, Mr. Sahil Gulati)

Journalists Co-operative Housing Society, Jubilee Hills

Mir Alam Dargah, Mir Alam Tank (Mr. Moazzam Zaid)

Ujaleshah Saheb Dargah, Akbar Bagh (Mr. Aziz)

New Diamond Cafe, Chanchalguda

Railway Police Station, Nampally

Siasi Halath (Khaleel)

Mr. Mirage and Mr. Elias

Style Press (Syed Uncle, Saleem Bhai, Aleem Bhai, Kareem Bhai)

Asif Aunty and Kousir

Aunty Sultana and Uncle Sultan

Salar Sultan, Uncle Khalil

Owais Bhai, Rizwan Bhai and Mannan Bhai



Mehmood Gawa Madrasa

Arshad Bhai, Shahbaz, Arbaz, Heena, Sana, Erum and Yasmeen Bhaji



Airtech (James Mewett)

Naseer Syed

Mommy (Elizabeth Rahman)



Que Ling Restaurant (Daniel)



Sara Rahman

Eva Hurban

Andres Tapia-Urzua, Sean Benedict

Doni Wulandana

Javed Dar and Nawaf Qazi


Hedi, Mayez, Zamir and Dalia


Shot on location in Hyderabad and Bidar, India

and Peterborough and Toronto, Canada


In Memory:

Mr. Zaheer and Babu (?-2010)

Omar Khalidi (1953-2010)

Habeebur Rahman

Daddy (Mohammed Faizur Rahman)