El Da’eya: Ramadan Mosalsal Delves into the Peculiar World of Egyptian TV Preachers
Ahmed FahmyAhmed Rateb...
Mohamed Gamal El Adl
Written by Medhat El Adl and directed by Mohammed El Adl, El Da’eya (The Preacher) stars Hany Salama and Basma, and revolves around the personal life of an Islamic preacher who finds love in the most unexpected of places.
Youssef (Salama) is a young Islamic preacher who has gained fame and following over the years, appearing on all the biggest shows on television to spread his message. The story attempts to put Youssef into context; it delves into his personal life, who he is at home with his family and what led to him becoming that famous, sought-after preacher that he is.
The series begins with us seeing Youssef on television, where his audience is shown to include people from all walks of life; everyone from disenfranchised youth, to ladies of upper-class ladies of luxury. The production succeeds in creating sequences and scenes that largely speak for themselves, while the score by renowned Egyptian composer, Omar Khairat, plays a significant role in the series as a whole. However, these factors fail to cover the show’s real weaknesses.
The critical problem lies with the two leads. Salama shows little versatility and takes on his role in a similar vein to previous turns in Kheyana Mashrou’a (Planned Deceit) and El Safah (The Killer). The first few episodes have thus far presented Youssef as a stern, cold and superficial character that lacks the depth and complexity of a lead role. Basma’s performance so far has been equally us underwhelming as a revolutionary violinist who rejects all political Islamic.
On the other hand, the supporting cast is the show’s saving grace. Ahmed Fahmy is a wonderful actor who we’d expect to see in a leading role next year, and Reham Abdel Ghaffour, Ahmed Rateb and Samy El Adl also master their roles, while Ahmed Magdy, Rahma Hassan, Mohammed Sharnouby and Mohamed Youssry prove to be solid choices.
Overall, however, El Da’eya seems to be resting on the fact that the plot represents a very important time in Egypt, both historically and politically. But poor performances and timid dialogue don’t do the subject matter justice. Let’s hope it gets better.