Glimpses of the history

The Asian Age.  | J S Ifthekhar

Life, More Features

Interestingly, Azmath Jah has no airs at all. He is extremely down to earth and interacts freely with everyone.

Prince Alexander Azam Jah, Princess Shekhar Jah, Princess Esra Jah and Azmath Jah.

The 80-minute documentary about the 7th Nizam, Mir Osman Ali Khan is expected to be named Fabulous Nizam and it will be in English with Urdu sub-titles.

The much awaited documentary on the 7th Nizam, Mir Osman Ali Khan, is finally ready. In the making for over a decade, the film is now in the cans. The post-production process of editing is on and it is expected to be released anytime soon. However, Prince Azmath Jah, great grandson of the last Nizam, who is making the documentary is not happy with the Canadian editor, Patrick Michael.

“His approach is from British perspective while I want to bring in Indian sensibilities. Therefore, I am looking for an Indian editor,” says Azmath Jah who is now in Hyderabad. He recently inaugurated the new office of HEH The Nizam’s Trusts at Purani Haveli.

The 80-minute documentary about the richest man of his times is tipped for world release. But it will be keenly watched in India, Turkey and England. There are lot of ‘misconceptions’ about the Nizam which the documentary seeks to dispel and put things in correct perspective. “It may not be the final word on the Nizam but definitely it will be the most authentic story,” says the young descendent of the Asaf Jahi dynasty.

Azmath Jah, a filmmaker himself, has wielded the camera for Hollywood hits like Last Crusade, Basic Instinct, Indiana Jones, Life of Charlie Chaplin, Navy Seals. He decided to make a movie on his great grandfather from the family’s point of view. “The Nizam had an incredible life and it’s difficult to portray it in a short documentary,” he admits.

The yet untitled film is expected to be named ‘Fabulous Nizam.’ It will be in English with Urdu sub-titles. Interestingly no one plays the Nizam but the story comes through interviews of different persons —both family members and those associated with the last Asaf Jahi ruler. As a family member, Azmath Jah, has access to things which an outsider can’t think of. During last few years he has interviewed dozens of close relatives and gathered the ‘untold story’. He has had long drawn conversations with the Nizam’s daughter, Shahzadi Pasha, Prince Shahmat Jah, Paigah nobles, Habeeb Yar Jung, Basheer Yar Jung and Mukarram Jah’s ADC, David Michael. This apart he has also spoken to a number of old Hyderabad families to gather information about the Nizam. For the first time the documentary will present Osman Ali Khan not just as a ruler but also as a great poet.

Casually clad in jeans and check-shirt, Azmath Jah talks passionately about the documentary and the effort that went into its making. It was originally meant to be a family project but later it was decided to give it a professional touch. “I am sure people will love to see the real Nizam, who is often dubbed a miser,” remarks the young prince for whom the movie is a labour of love.

Interestingly, Azmath Jah has no airs at all. He is extremely down to earth and interacts freely with everyone. He readily obliges staff of the Nizam Trust with selfies. What does he do for a living?  “I don’t need to do a nine to five job,” he replies, a thin smile playing on his face. “But I try to keep myself occupied with films and other such interests,” he says candidly.

Unlike his father, who shies away from public appearances, Azmath Jah is quite comfortable mixing with people.  He recalls his pleasant experience when he landed with his father at the Hyderabad airport few years ago. The immigration officer glanced at their passports and got up to salute his father. “I was moved by the respect people show to the Nizam’s family,” he says.

Though he lives in London, Azmath Jah has fond memories of Hyderabad, particularly his visits to the  Golconda Fort during Christmas holidays. His voice chokes talking about his father, who is now bedridden and can’t move out of Istanbul. Is he aware of the recent London court judgement about the Nizam's funds?

“Yes, he is happy about it,” replies the royal scion.