Al Zowga Al Thaaneya: Ramadan Remake of 60’s Film Classic
Alaa' GhaanemAmr Waked...
Going into Ramadan, Al Zowga Al Thaaneya – or The Second Wife – had already been marked as a must-watch for 2013. Directed by Khairy Beshara, the show features a stellar cast, including the one and only, Amr Waked.
Based on a 1967 film of the same name, starring the legendary Soad Hosny, the plot follows a poor, rural village in Egypt that is at the mercy of a brutal ‘omda – a Mafia honcho so to speak, but on a much smaller scale. This gangster-in-galabeya is so evil, in fact, that after tiring of his wife, he picks a young woman to take as his second wife – though her hand is already taken by a poor villager. The TV adaptation has thus far looked to follow the same plot, though it hasn;t been received will by mosalsal addicts in Cairo.
As a woman who is bound to yield to the will of the ‘omda, Ayten Amer, who has the daunting task of filling the same role as Soad Hosny, has been the target of discontent; her aim of channelling and recreating the aura of Hosny has produced a caricature of the character that often detracts from the show’s autonomy. On the other hand, Abdel Geleel interprets the role of the ‘omda, Atmaan, from a fresh perspective, though even that new take falls into the typecast that has seen him deliver similar roles in his recent appearances in film.
Meanwhile, Hafeeza – the unfortunate first wife of the story – is presented as a suppressed and distinctly unattractive woman, though Alaa’ Ghaanem is far the latter, but does a good job portraying the former.
Waked, meanwhile, doesn’t look particularly interested. Many will argue that the internationally recognised actor is above the melodramatic world of the Ramadan mosalsal, and he all but confirms it; as a down-and-out villager, Waked fails to channel any real emotion.
And so in the end, Al Zowga Al Thaaneya has already proven to be somewhat underwhelming, though we’re still hopeful that things can get at least a little bit better.
Translated & edited from Cairo 360 Arabic.