Taqet Nour poster - Courtesy of the series’ Facebook page
CAIRO – 5 July 2017: In an interesting action series screened this Ramadan Hani Salama plays the role of Leil Abdel Salam, a professional killer in Taqet Nour (“The Light’s Aura”). A hired gun for the elite classes, he is described as the one who settles disputes between the big tycoons, those considered untouchable by the government. His first name is very peculiar; “Leil” means night in Arabic, an uncommon name that insinuates darkness, bringing to mind evil and fear when mentioned. Yet with the camera motion following him in combat, the way he wears his clothes and trains in the martial art of Aikido, audiences are instantly attracted to the character.
Abdel Salam’s first mission is rescuing a kidnapped girl, the daughter of a rich land owner in Upper Egypt. He does not hold back from killing who ever stands in his way during the rescue operation.
Bit by bit, his true identity as a ruthless killer surfaces, after he brutally kills a blackmailer. When he fails to kill a poor innocent textile business owner his sister takes over and orders his men to carry on with the mission while he is unconscious. The final result is the death of many innocent people in a fire that destroys 20 houses.
The talented actress Hanan Motawee plays the role of Laila, a poor girl working at a resort owned by Leil as a front for his business and living in the area alongside the criminals that he uses in his operations. The character is very well written, with her key traits of that of a pure person, funny and loveable with her innocent tricks on her manager to avoid punishment at work (who ends up becoming her father in law) and how she falls for Leil with such pure emotion. She becomes every man’s dream and as the episodes go by, Laila leaves a mark in the souls of the audience as a selfless lover.
Although a gripping drama, Taqat Nour does not shy away from a healthy dose of realism, portraying how the culture of poverty brings out the worst in the people living it, from marital infidelity to killing with no guilt, drug dealing, false testimonies and falsifying money. The residents of these lawless areas do the dirty work for the rich and powerful and in serving their low desires and wishes, it becomes a lifestyle for the marginalized.
The dramatization of this immorality portrayed so viscerally by Taqat Nour sends a real warning that these situations do indeed exist beyond the confines of TV drama and must be dealt with by the whole community.
The series also sheds light on the tension between Muslims and Christians in Upper Egypt and how any minor rumor of love relations between a boy and a girl of different religions can lead to an eruption of violence between both parties. Such incidents have occurred for real in the recent past in many places all over Egypt.
Abdel Salam’s hit man eventually wants to leave the business, seek redemption and forgiveness. He frequents a mosque and feels the light in his soul. His decision makes him an instant enemy to his clients, and hence, a target as well. Knowing too much is a sin in the underworld, and much like the Mafia, you cannot retire. The result is the death of his daughter and several attempts on his life.
Redemption from evil is a theme dealt with a lot through the series. Taqat Nour often portrays the struggle within the hero as he continues to be violent, but also helps the poor, weak, oppressed and the victims of the powerful and corrupt.
Details of the revenge attempts for previous actions, attacks on Abdel Salam, counter-attacks on the evil characters of which the series is full of, plots made and revealed by - all these keep the audience interested and rooting for the bad guy to turn good.
The only criticism of the series is that none of the main characters in it are common Egyptians or Arabs. In real life for the vast majority of people it is nearly impossible to encounter a hit man such as Abdel Salam or get close to a business tycoon. However, this does not mean that violence of this type does not touch the lives of ordinary citizens. The type of criminal violence closer to reality is the lawless poor people with their strong men who impose their own laws while the executive power turns a blind eye in exchange for keeping the masses under control.