Courtesy: Al-Hesab Yegma3 facebook page
CAIRO - 27 June 2017: El Adl Group media production company continues its tradition of working with the same cohort of stars this Ramadan, with their latest offering Al-Hesab Yegmaa (‘Money Binds Us’) seeing a continuation in their collaboration with Yusra in what initially appeared to be a new and innovative idea. The series tackles the issues of class and prejudice through the perspective of women who work as housekeepers in the homes of strangers.
Yusra plays the role of Naeema, a single mother with two grown-up daughters and a house full of women who all face various hardships in their personal and professional lives. Naeema acts as a domestic workers agency, locating girls for households in need of a cleaner or cook. Naeema also runs a home-cooking catering service, but her hard work is often in vain as she struggles to pay her debts and faces unfair accusations during the course of the series, even though she is not the culprit in most of these incidents.
Fed up of being wrongly accused and verbally abused by people who think they are superior to her, we start to see a change in Naeema. Our heroine embarks on her own personal mission of morality by taking from undeserving people and helping the downtrodden; a modern Arab version of Robin Hood.
Each girl that Naeema employs has a story and a struggle that has forced them to undertake menial work in private homes under employers who often treat them with contempt. Orphan Samah, played by the singer and actress Poussi, was brought up by Naeema and worked as a maid in various houses where she was often accused of breaking things and stealing until one day she decides to teach her employer a lesson by teaming up with Naeema to steal from them. Abeer, played by Dina Mousa, is another girl who comes to Naeema for work after her husband is left housebound after an accident and without his knowledge begins working at the house of a dentist.
She soon realises that the dentist is not what he seems when she discovers that he has been secretly filming her in the bathroom where she gets dressed. Again, Abeer teams up with Naeema to seek revenge and threaten the dentist with exposure of his crime if he does not pay a huge sum of money.
Naeema’s own daughters, played by Eman al-Aasi and the new rising star Diana Hesham, have a set of their own problems that their mother is oblivious to, just as they themselves are unaware of the secret their mother has been hiding along with their cousin Karim, played by Karim Fahmi.
The secret in question is eventually revealed - that the body of their father is buried under the house. He was having an affair with Karim’s mother and when Karim found them together he killed him, then with the help of Naeema buried the body.
Although an interesting premise, Al-Hesab Yegmaa is ultimately let down by its weak script. This forces the question; why do El-Adel Group insist on writing and producing three drama series in one Ramadan season, instead of focusing on one quality programme that could be a much stronger contender in the annual Ramadan drama race?
I stopped watching Yusra in recent years as I got bored of the same type of character that she has become accustomed to playing, but I was drawn to watch her this year as I liked the idea of the plot. It was also the first time that I personally got to see Yusra play a working class woman on TV rather than in a film. I have to admit she was very convincing as a mother, a Good Samaritan and a poor woman facing all sorts of struggles.
Other notable actors and actresses making an appearance are Eman al-Aasi, who again made us believe in the character of Mina with her strong performance. Karim Fahmi also stood out but ultimately lacked what made him a big star; that spark that captivated many by his acting. Poussi was another success, as were the two new faces Diana Hesham and Hazem Ehab; both will have a bright future in the acting industry. Mahmoud Abd al-Moghny I was rather disappointed with as I am used to better performances from him, just as I felt that Dina Mousa let herself down with the role of Abeer.
Al-Hesab Yegmaa could have been a big success, but was ruined by poor acting and a rushed script. As we reached the end of the series I was baffled by the message that this work is trying to convey; is the writer suggesting we should perform our own version of justice as long as it is helping others? Or that whatever we do will catch up with us and we will pay the price for it, or maybe both combined!
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