Ahmed Mourad - Ahmed Hayman
CAIRO - 17 March 2019: Ahmed Mourad is perhaps the most popular author for an entire generation that has, over the past decade, increasingly grown anticipation for his books and films adapted from his work.
After 10 years of literary production; what is the difference between your first novel and your last one?
I enjoy my journey. I enjoyed writing "Vertigo" and "The Season of Hunting Deer", and now I am enjoying shooting "The Blue Elephant 2" and the movie I am currently preparing for. It is a huge responsibility; the number of readers has massively increased, the coming generations are more aware of the significance of reading as parents now understand how reading is so essential to their children. The coming period will be crucial as the curve of readers skyrockets and people are becoming so open to the world. Standards are rapidly changing and I have to keep up with all these changes.
Tell me more about "The Blue Elephant 2"
It is not a mere movie or novel; it is a whole life. I believe Yehia Rashed is a real character and that I will meet Maya one day. At the beginning, Marwan Hamed (the movie director) and I insisted not to make a second part of it because we wanted to make it a masterpiece, yet after a while Marwan suggested working on a second part as everybody was enthusiastic to shoot another part. Hence, I wrote a treatment that was highly admired by Marwan and the production company, Synergy. The second part will be more thrilling than the first one.
Tell me more about your cooperation with the Production Company, Synergy
This is my second project with Synergy. I am glad to be shooting "The Blue Elephant 2" and preparing a new movie with Synergy; the new movie will be a surprise. Synergy adopts a very special perspective of making movies.
This is your fourth project with director Marwan Hamed; why Hamed in specific?
Marwan is so updated and professional; he has the vision to present everlasting movies. He does his best to improve film industry in Egypt.
Do you prefer to write a script from scratch or a script based upon a novel?
Adaptation is a little bit harder as you are restricted with the events of the novel. It is challenging to make the script better than the original literary work.
Over a decade, you have worked as a private photographer for former President Mohamed Hosni Mubarak. Eight years after the revolution, how do you estimate his era?
I saw life through different perspectives. I dealt with people in streets and listened to their opinions and at the same time I worked at the Presidential Palace. I think Mubarak's era was an ordinary era full of its merits and demerits but it was not the worst. Yet, I still need some time to form a clear opinion on that era.
Would you like to write a documentary about that era?
No, it is not my passion. I am not a historian.
What is the aim of your writing; entertainment, drawing morals or a call to rethink?
I should enjoy what I write, rethink archaic thoughts and scrutinize facts to know whether they are stable enough or not. I read 65 books to write only one condensed and comprehensible book. I took the whole dose to give the reader a few drops.
You have been criticized for writing in slang language instead of standard Arabic.
I don't care. I write both slang and standard Arabic. I cannot imagine writing in slang language in a novel like "Ard El-Elah" (God's land) and I cannot imagine the character of "Servees" in the novel "Torab El-Mas" (Diamond Dust) speaking in standard Arabic and saying for instance "give me drugs". If there is a holy book written about how to write a proper novel, I will definitely follow it.
Youssef Zeidan has criticized you in that point.
This man has the right to say whatever he wants.
Do you feel afraid to raise your two daughters in a society where women are regarded as second class citizens?
I am so afraid that my daughters might struggle with such toxic people who follow illogical customs and traditions, repeating "I am the master; you are the slave and you have to obey. These deep-rooted customs do not exist for other creatures; for example, you will never see a worm ordering another worm to prepare supper for it, only human beings do that.
Do you agree with the laws applied in Tunisia that give both sexes equal inheritance and ban polygamy?
You have described women as deer and men as leopards in your novel "The Season of Hunting Deer"; is it a kind of humiliation?
I do respect animals. I am vegetarian; I refuse to eat any animal. On the contrary, I consider this simile an upgrade to mankind because animals are more obvious and pure.
How do you deal with your little kids Fatma and Ruqaya?
Tota and Roka (his kids' nicknames) are my friends. I learned a lot of things from them. I apply psychologist Erik Erikson's discipline to "instill morals, recite a story".
Ahmed Mourad-Egypt today
Stay tuned for the second part where Mourad reveals more and more about his coming movies and personal life.