BubuWeb: Parviz Khatibi’s Seh Mullah

      Seh Mullah
      Parviz Khatibi
      Farsi (no subtitles)
      1985, 53 min

      Parviz Khatibi was an iconoclastic intellectual, active across countless media, who kept one foot in popular entertainment and the other in political activism. During the Shah’s regime, Khatibi relentlessly published a satirical weekly named Haji Baba despite harsh censorship and several arrests. After the Islamic revolution, Khatibi continued the publication of the paper both in Iran and later in exile in New York and Los Angeles. In the realm of popular culture, he was a successful playwright, a key figure in the golden years of Radio Iran where he hosted a popular four hour morning show, an accomplished film directer (over 20 pictures under his belt) and a successful songwriter. Most notably, he penned the lyrics to Vigen and Delkash’s Bordi Az Yadam - one of the most iconic songs of Persian pop history. His gift for sharp but poppy lyrics is evident in Seh Mullah (1985), a made-for-television satirical musical mocking the then leaders of the Islamic Republic. In characteristic Khatibi style, the play utilizes popular folk and joke musical tropes combined with found footage and video effects to voice fervent political commentaries. The mullahs, played by actors donning clumsy masks and fake beards, are often seen singing, dancing and being chastised by their wives. In one scene Khomeini, with a baseball bat in his lap, calls Saddam Hossein on the telephone to share his woes and suggest a war between their countries to solve all their problems. Khatibi himself appears throughout as a diegetic narrator.
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