Taht El Ard: Weakly Conceived Ramadan Action-Romance
Amal BashoushaAmir Karara...
Taht El Ard (Underground) was one of the highly anticipated Ramadan series this year. A Kan Productions venture, directed by Hatem Aly and written by Hesham Helal, the series stars Amir Karara and Turkish actress, Songül Öden.
The plot follows Gamal (Karara); a former national security officer whose trials and tribulations have somehow lead him to a life of crime. Despite his rather aggressive line of work, Gamal is presented as very sensitive and reflective man who enjoys pursuits such as painting in his spare time. It’s this caring side of him that comes into play when a child is killed during an otherwise routine job. His mind becomes racked with guilt and he begins to question his life and his decisions on a deeper level.
There are three women in the lead character’s life; Laila (Bashousha), a media personality, his ex-wife and the mother of his son (Sherbiny), and Turkish dame, Tuline (Öden), who is stuck in a loveless marriage with crime lord, El Mahdy (Aly), and is yearning for a knight in shining armor to whisk her away from her caged life.
Out of nowhere, and without any sort of build-up, Gamal and Tuline fall in love – a plot point that creates a gap within the story as a whole. Whether this is laziness on the script’s part or a true reflection of the nature of love, everyone will have their own interpretation. But even the scenes between the two lack chemistry, which is a shame considering the fact that this was pegged as the Romeo & Juliet romance of Ramadan this year. When the lovers attempt to run away after her husband, El Mahdy, finds out about their relationship, the two are eventually arrested by security forces and it’s from here that the real action starts – action being the operative word here.
Although it might seem like a love story, this is not the case. What contains bursts of romance is in fact more of an action series. But with all things considered, the biggest downfall of the show is the characters; weak and occasionally one-dimensional, we’re told plenty about the characters upfront, but they never feel real and each character arch has, thus far, been riddled with clichés.