Abdel Aziz Street: Classic Cairo Underdog TV Series
Alaa GhaanemAmr Saad...
Straight from the off, this show holds no
punches. From episode one, a fast pace of events was set and there’s been no
looking back since. Audiences were immediately thrown into the world of the
main character; Abdel Aziz. Yes, just like the street.
Abdel Aziz hasn’t got much to shout about.
His father is a modest porter, and his mother a humble housewife. As a child,
‘Zizo’– as our hero is referred to – works small odd-jobs to bring in extra cash
to the house. He does so behind his father’s back, whose only wish is that his
son focuses on his school work so that he can eventually go to university and
make something of himself. Being the
scoundrel that he is, Zizo pays little attention to his father’s counsel and
instead lags behind as he drags his way through school.
In the meantime, he
falls for his neighbour Lobna, who in contrast, is a very astute student who
goes on to study pharmaceuticals at university. Love never comes easy, and this
love story’s foil comes in the form of the son of Gargawy – an influential figure in the area – who grows
up to be a strapping police officer.
Along with partner in crime Qandeel,
Gargawy pretty much terrorises the neighbourhood, and harvests his heavy-handed
influence to pillage the great Abdel-Aziz Street. Only one man can stand up to
them and save the street; yes you guessed it, it’s Zizo.
As with the majority of Egyptian Ramadan
series, there is an overwhelming amount of plotlines to follow in Abdel Aziz Street. But the drama is
enough to keep you wanting more. The series portrays Abdel Aziz Street as a
dog-eat-dog world, where merchants cheat to win, and no man would hesitate to
step over another to get to what he wants.
As we say, the series piles on the drama by
the bucket-full. This does sometimes translate in excessively long scenes that
are more suited to film than Ramadan television. It also has a reverse
effect on the flow of an episode, as the pace of events often cut short by a
blunt event or plot point that has to be drawn out in an elaborate and
This seems to be done at the expense of
deeper-seated explanations. For example, the history of the romance between
Zizo and his forbidden love is rarely explained, and at times comes across as a
Stylistically, the mise–en-scène is spot
on. The series does a great job of portraying Abdel Aziz Street, Attaba, and
the surrounding Downtown Cairo areas. This actually feeds a certain charm and realism into the characters and
their stories. It’s also worth noting Amr Saad’s turn as the lead; it has thus
far been an impressive performance.