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Iranian actor Reza Banafsheh plays the role of the late shah of Iran, to whom the actor bears an uncanny likeness, February 4 in Tehran, in an unprecedented epic television series marking the 20th anniversary of the fall of the last imperial government. The series covers the entire period from the first stirrings of Islamic opposition to the shah in 1963 to his overthrow. Photo by Atta Kenare, AFP. Thanks to Payman Arabshahi
Iran launches epic 50-hour TV series chronicling Islamic revolution
TEHRAN, Feb 4 (AFP) - The shah and his wife strode majestically through the marble halls of the imperial Saadabad Palace again Thursday as Iran's Islamic regime started filming an unprecedented 50-hour TV series marking the 20th anniversary of their overthrow.
Moderate President Mohammad Khatami looked on as a valet announced the grand entry of his imperial majesty the shah, played by actor Reza Banafsheh Khah.
Following the customs of the old imperial court, the shah extended his hand for his top political and military aides to kiss, before settling down for intense discussions about the emerging Islamic opposition.
The news his advisers have to give him about the opposition's growing strength infuriates the shah who storms out of the lavishly furnished hall.
In another scene watched by Khatami, the shah's third wife, empress Farah Diba, played by actress Mahshid Afshar Zahdeh, talks animatedly with his twin sister Ashraf on an antique French settee.
Both actresses wear headgear even though they are indoors, in a nod to the dress code for women the Islamic authorities imposed after the revolution.
But the actresses do not wear the Islamic headscarves Iranian women are normally obliged to wear when they appear in public.
The epic series covers the entire period from the first stirrings of Islamic opposition to the shah in 1963, right up to the final overthrow of the shah 20 years ago this month.
The producers have to yet to decide who is to play the part of the late leader of the revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
"It is very difficult to find an actor who look likes him," a member of the production team told AFP.
But the schedule for the filming means the producers will have to choose someone soon.
The epic series is to be shown in 60 episodes of 50 minutes each -- no date has yet been announced for the screening of the first episode. Director Amir Ghavidel expects the marathon project to take two years to complete.
On Monday the Iranian authorities launched 10 days of celebrations which run through to February 11, the 20th anniversary of the fall of the last imperial government.
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