“Ali and Nino” by Kurban Said (aka Lev Nussimbaum) is a love story that takes place in the capital of Azerbaijan, Baku, during the last years of World War I, Azerbaijan’s short independence from 1918 to 1920 and the invasion of the Red Army. The main characters are Ali Khan Shirvanshahir, an upper-class Azerbaijani Muslim teenager who is in love with a beautiful Georgian princess, Nino Kipiani. Published for the first time in German in Vienna in 1937, the novel was re-discovered by Jenia Graman – a German who lived in England during the war- in the 1950s. She found a copy of the book in Berlin and translated it into English.
The book is about the journey of the two lovers, who have to overcome opposition to their relationship and the deceit of a mutual friend, takes them from the shores of the Caspian Sea to the mountains in Dagestan where they get married, then to Persia; finally they return to Baku. However, they find themselves embroiled in fighting. To save his wife and his daughter Tamar who was born in the meantime, Ali sends them to Georgia, promising to join them within three days while he himself stays behind to defend the newly declared independence of his homeland.
The story of a cross-cultural romance between a Christian Georgian girl and a Muslim Azerbaijani boy has stolen the hearts of many around the globe and will soon be shown on the big screen.
Described in Baku magazine as “one of the most telling and enigmatic love stories of the 20th century” the tale of Ali and Nino will be turned into a feature film and shot in Azerbaijan next year.
An announcement dinner was held at the annual Cannes Film Festival 2014 where the leading role, its director, producer and screenwriter were announced. U.K. director
has signed on to direct the movie. Christopher Hampton- Oscar winning screenwriter will write the adaption of the classic novel.
Since its first publication in 1937, the book was translated into 33 languages.