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Friday, 17 March 2023

The biggest mosalsalat to look out for in Ramadan 2023

It’s that time of the year again and as always, we’re here to help you curate your Ramadan viewing list. Each year comes 30+ shows, but you’ll find comfort in a handful of familiar faces (some of which have arguably become a little too familiar). Here are the shows that will (likely) dominate many of your iftar conversations during the coming month.

Stirring up controversy before it has even aired: Mona Zaki’s Taht El Wesaya (watch, runtime: 1:07). The promo sees the actress sporting hijab and thick eyebrows, sparking heated debates on social media over her appearance, mostly built on conjecture. Zaki’s appearance does play an important role in the protagonist’s characterization — but only because her character is supposed to look like someone who can pass as a man, in hopes of using the disguise to find work. The show will air on DMC.

If you enjoy fake se’eedi accents, you might also want to check out Omla Nadra (watch, runtime: 0:55). Nelly Karim (also) plays a veiled character who is (also) a widow (also) fighting for her rights. One way to differentiate between this and Taht El Wesaya is that Mohamed Mounir is the singer and composer for the Omla Nadra theme song. The show will air on CBC.

Appealing to the history buffs among you: Khaled Al Nabawi’s Resalit Al Imam (watch, runtime: 0:46). Primarily a biography of Arab theologian Al Imam Al Shafi’i, writer Muhammed Hisham Obeya says the serial will also cover socio-political events and religious disputes that the theologian encountered in Egypt from 816 CE to 820 CE. It would be nice to think that the issues won’t be terribly familiar to us 1.2k years later, but you’ll have to keep up with the show on Al Hayah to see for yourselves.

Yousra admits that her previous passes at comedy have fallen flat — and is clearly looking for a shot at redemption with Alf Hamdela ‘Al Salama (watch, runtime: 0:30). The show follows Yousra’s character as she returns to Egypt in hopes of securing her children’s inheritance, only to stumble upon a web of family secrets. Tune in to Al Hayah to judge whether the series atones for her previous crimes against comedy.

Surprise — Ahmed Mekki is back with another season of El Kebeer Awy. While the show initially started out as a comedy about two brothers’ struggle for mayorship, recent seasons of El Kebeer Awy have seen the characters join the mafia, forcibly participate in a Squid Game competition, and… uhh… Just one second while we double-check our notes… Yup. Save the planet from a meteoroid. The series will be airing on ON Drama.

Ruby stars as a university professor running for mayor in Ibrahim Issa’s Hadrit Al Omda (watch, runtime: 1:47). As you can imagine, the history of women mayors in Egypt is not extensive. Already a compelling premise on its own, the choppy trailer seems to show Issa biting off a little more than he can chew, with each clip introducing a new storyline and new (heavy) topics, from undocumented immigration to female genital mutilation. We expect a compelling watch with sparse humor on CBC, but Edward’s fake se’eedi accent will probably source a giggle or two.

OMDA SHOW #2: Mohamed Ramadan Edition. The promo for Jaafar El Omda (watch, runtime: 2:12) doesn’t veer beyond the actor’s usual schtick — he is a manly man who does manly things, among them being a womanizer and getting into fistfights. Promises that you will be getting an authentic Mohamed Ramadan performance are fulfilled almost immediately, as he is shown shirtless literally one second into the trailer. If the MRU (Mohamed Ramadan Universe) is your jam, you can catch this show on DMC.

Amir Karara: forever young? Karara is an accomplished figure with an on-screen career spanning twenty years. And yet, in Souq El Kanto, he is set to star as a “young man” in 1920 Cairo, forced to resort to the thug life following an explosive dispute with merchants from the souq, where his father’s shop becomes collateral damage. Along the way, he falls for Mai Ezzeldin’s Greek character, whose mother stands in the way of their love. Will they use CGI to project youth onto Karara’s face, or will we just have to suspend belief? Tune into DMC in Ramadan to find out.

A rare supernatural-themed show, courtesy of Ahmed Amin: Ahmed Amin cites the Ray Bradbury novel A Sound of Thunder as inspiration behind El Soffara (watch, runtime: 1:48), but from what we’ve seen of the trailer, we’re more reminded of Adam Sandler’s Click. Amin — in his first leading role in a Ramadan show — uses a Click-esque device to control time, but this one is in the shape of a pharaonic whistle. You can give the show a watch on DMC.

What’s Ramadan without a little family drama? MBC Masr brings you two shows exploring turbulent family lives. The first, Taghyeer Gaw, stars Iyad Nassar and Menna Shalaby, whose character Sherifa struggles to deal with her mother’s addictions. More common family matters are the subject of writer Mariam Naoum’s Al Harsha Al Sab’a (watch, runtime: 2:37), which sees two couples, played by Amina Khalil and Mohamed Shaheen, and Asmaa Galal and Aly Kassem, face mounting issues fed by infidelity and desire for change following their seventh year of marriage.

We don’t know much about Yasser Galal’s Elaqa Mashrou’a, but it looks like it could be an exciting watch. The only disclosed detail we know of is that Galal plays a businessman whose stable life takes an unexpected turn. In an interview with Lamis El Hadidi (watch, runtime: 7:49), Galal teased surprise guests and shocking twists. Intrigued? Unfortunately, you’ll have to wait until the second half of Ramadan to see what writer Samah Al Hariri has cooked up for us on ON Drama.

Thirty-one years after his passing, Yusuf Idris finally makes it to the small screen. Serro Al Bati’, adapted by ON Drama and directed by Khaled Youssef, alternates between the French invasion of Egypt in 1798 and contemporary Egypt. The trailer (watch, runtime: 3:18) follows the Egyptian resistance to the invasion and features a young man played by Ahmed Fahmy trying to uncover the truth behind Ahmed El Saadany’s Hamid, the “sultan” of the resistance. The star-studded cast also includes Hussein Fahmy, Khaled El Sawy, Reem Mostafa, and Hanan Motawea.

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