Rahman, who earned global fame for his work on the soundtrack of Slumdog Millionaire, will score the music for Khaja's film, scheduled to begin shooting in March 2023.
The film, co-written by Al Khaja and writer Masoud Amralla Al Ali, follows Wahida, who is haunted by the mysterious death of her twin sister. The discovery of hidden cassette tapes then leads her on a relentless pursuit to find answers and deal with her own grief.
The northern Emirate will provide the film's dramatic backdrop and will cast indigenous people from Ras Al Khaimah, Al Khaja said.
“My grandmother came from the mountains, they have never been captured in a feature before," she said. "The sheer access to the indigenous people of Ras Al Khaimah and the soulful script is an untold story that I am eager to tell. With AR Rahman on board, we will live a very immersive journey that is authentic, haunting and real."
Rahman, who has also won Bafta, Golden Globe and Grammy awards, has sold more than 200 million records worldwide and worked on more than 145 films.
“I’m delighted to be working with Nayla on her feature film," he said. "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.”
Besides Baab, Al Khaja, one of the pioneering Emirati filmmakers, is also in pre-production on her debut feature film Three, which is scheduled to go into production later this year. She is the executive producer for The Alexandria Killings, the serial-killer series from Front Row Filmed Entertainment and Rocket Science’s joint Middle East film and TV company Yalla Yalla.
Oscar-winning writer-director Terry George (Hotel Rwanda, In the Name of the Father) is at the helm, along with celebrated Egyptian writer Mariam Naoum to co-write.