Shahrzad series is an Iranian romance set against the violent politic times of the 1953 Iranian coup d’état that overthrew the Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh in favour of the monarchic rule of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the Shah of Iran.
Shahrzad and Farhad are two young people deeply in love and planning their wedding amidst the turbulence of the times. Shahrzad is studying to become a Doctor whilst Farhad is a journalist and both are deeply affected by the transitions that are taking place in their country. Amidst the chaos of the coup Farhad and his journalist colleagues are thrown into prison where they are tortured and interrogated and sentenced to death for killing one of the Shah’s Guards of Honour.
Shahrzad works as a nurse for a powerful Grand Master, Bozorg Agha who was deeply influential in financing the coup and subsiding the “brainless” mob that arrested Farhad. Shahrzad begs Bozorg Agha’s assistance to save Farhad’s life. Agreeing to help Agha will only do so if Shahrzad agrees to break her engagement with Farhad and marry his son-in-law Ghobad, to become a surrogate mother for his own daughter who cannot have children.
Shahrzad agrees and fabricates a lie to tell Farhad and she and Ghobad marry. The many twists and turns of this drama set against the political machinations of a power hungry man, tells the tale of not only a country but of the people whose lives are destroyed by a web of intrigue, lies and conspiracies of power. The desire for a family heir and the corruption of power that outlines Agha’s dealings with his family lead him to annihilate all those he considers his enemy and that stand in his way.
This tragic love story will remind you of films like Casablanca or Gone With the Wind, a classic, timeless tale of the struggle to love or be destroyed.
This 28 episode series involved over 200 artists, including actors, cast and crew. It took over 2 years in pre-production due to the extensive nature of the show and the political implications of the story line. To date it is the biggest project undertaken by the private sector for the home viewing network. The series itself took 4 months to film.
The filming was done in the western part of Tehran at the Ghazali Cinematic Town Complex, which covers an area of 10 hectares. The Complex was built in 1971 by the late director Ali Hatami and was created to replicate old Tehran. The complex is comprised of a series of reproductions of Iranian political and historic buildings and streets. The set was decorated by Gianni Cortina a renowned Italian set designer. Other locations included: the Museum of the Qasr Prison which is one of the oldest political prisons in Tehran, Qavam al-Dowleh’s house which is also known as Vosuq al-dowleh’s house, is one of the historical and beautiful buildings located in the heart of Tehran city. It was registered in the list of Iran’s national relics, Naderi Cafe, is a 90-year-old Tehran institution, hangout for artists, students, and the nostalgic. The style is 1950’s Paris with photos of famed performance artists, writers and poets adore the walls, and the famous Kurdish Sulaimaniyah Palace.
Shahrzad is complex, multi-layered, vibrant and contains an exquisite level of detail in its sets, costumes and decor. The acting is superb and it is one of those rare series that draws you into its complex story.