Art and Experience:

Actor Hadi Hejazifar calls his directorial debut “The Situation of Mehdi” a film document for Badr and Kheibar, two major operations Iran carried out during the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war.

The war drama portraying the life story of Mehdi Bakeri, the chief of IRGC 31st Shura Division that carried out several major operations during the war, was critically acclaimed following its premiere at the 40th Fajr Film Festival on Sunday.

“During the project, I told my crew that I wanted to make a movie that is recognized as a documentary on the operations Badr and Kheibar,” Hejazifar said during a press conference organized after a screening of his film.

To make the scenes more credible, Hejazifar even carried out an extensive search into the abandoned storehouses of the Army and the IRGC to find suitable uniforms for his cast members.

“In our search, we found numerous uniforms with blood stains and pollution from chemical weapons,” he said

“We conducted extensive research, collecting numerous interviews carried out with the relevant officials and commanders since the 1980s. I was completely faithful to the documents and never altered the information,” Hejazifar noted.

The film also gives details about Bakeri’s brother, Hamid, who was killed during Operation Kheibar. The brothers were born in Miandoab, West Azarbaijan Province, where people speak Azarbaijani, and the 31st Shura Division under Bakeri was from the Azarbaijan region.

Consequently, Hejazifar had a difficult job assembling a cast of actors who spoke Azarbaijani. Hejazifar and his brother, who were born in Khoy in West Azarbaijan, star as Mehdi and Hamid.

“The 31st Shura Division was the division of Azarbaijani volunteers with only two Persian-speaking members… therefore I had to remain faithful to this fact,” Hejazifar said.

He noted, “It was necessary to make such a film to awaken officials to issues facing the country.

“The Situation of Mehdi” has been produced at Sima Films, a film production studio affiliated with Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), which is scheduled to broadcast a series adaptation of the film in the public premiere of the film.

The 31st Shura Division conducted numerous operations, including Beit ol-Moqaddas, Wa al-Fajr 1, 2, 3, 4, and Kheibar.  Bakeri was ultimately martyred while under siege by Iraqi forces during Operation Badr in 1985.

His brother, Hamid, and some other soldiers were martyred earlier in the heart of the battlefield during Operation Kheibar. His men informed him of the martyrdom by walkie-talkie, so a group was assigned to bring back Hamid’s body from the area. However, Mehdi asked the group to halt, and then told them, “They all are my brothers; if you can bring them all back then bring Hamid back, too.”

Source: Tehrantimes