Nayla Al Khaja, the first female filmmaker in the United Arab Emirates, is teaming with Oscar, BAFTA, and Grammy award winning Indian composer A.R. Rahman of Slumdog Millionaire and 127 Hours fame on her upcoming feature length film Baab. The script written by Nayla Al Khaja herself and Masoud Amralla Al Ali follows Wahida, who is unable to make sense of her twin sister’s mysterious death and is plagued by a haunting rhythm in her ears. She later discovers hidden cassette tapes and her relentless pursuit of the truth begins to untangle unresolved grief that takes her deep into the mountains to delve into the complexities of the human soul.

The film, touted to be a mystery, is being produced by Elly Senger-Weiss (Tutti per Uma) and Sultan Al Darmaki (The Devil’s Machine) with Muna Easa Al Gurg acting as the film's executive producer. The film will begin its shooting only next year from March 2023 onwards in the northern Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah. It will provide the film’s backdrop of dramatic vistas of the Jais mountains and will cast indigenous people from the region for authenticity.

Direction is not Al Khaja's first rodeo. She is no novice to the thriller/horror genre having directed The Shadow back in 2020, which was inspired by the horrific real-life experience of her young relative who was very sick, leading family members to believe he was possessed. Speaking about her second feature film after coming up with The Shadow, Al Khaja revealed her grandmother was the inspiration behind Baab.

Rahman has also stepped forward to say a few things about the aspiring filmmaker. He said, “I’m delighted to be working with Nayla on her feature film Baab, she’s a passionate and promising filmmaker and an important creative voice within the Gulf region. The script is enigmatic, thought-provoking, and promises to be both visually and emotionally engaging for universal audiences. I’m looking forward to the journey.”

A. R. Rahman, whose compositions have earned him two Oscars, a Grammy Award, multiple accolades and awards for his music in the Malayalam, Tamil, and Hindi film industries, recently set up his Firdaus Studio in UAE as part of his collaboration with Expo 2020 Dubai where he mentored the Firdaus Orchestra, an all-woman ensemble of 50 musicians.