Every now and then, there comes a show that uproots audiences from their seats and plunges them headfirst into a masterfully constructed world. Mona Zaki’s “Taht El Wesaya” is one such show. It chronicles the story of widowed Hanan (Mona Zaki) who escapes her brother-in-law’s home with her two kids and heads to Damietta to begin a new life as the captain of her husband’s ship.
Unlike this year’s roster of Ramadan shows, “Taht El Wesaya” stands out for being the only show that takes on the air of an independent (indie) film, akin to A.B. Shawky’s Yomeddine. It is very centered and focused around a particular kind of world, that of the lapping waters and ships of Damietta.
As with any unique, indie film, another key ingredient is of a rich and complex character who defies the norm. In “Taht El Wesaya”, Hanan exemplifies that very character, playing the role of a headstrong single mother who has to leave her kids every night and traverse the patriarchal world of Damietta’s port to make ends meet. Zaki was the perfect actress to convey the struggle of Hanan’s life. Many viewers said that because of her years of experience, Zaki easily transformed into a character that we’ve never seen her take on before.
Beyond her acting, the show’s cinematography also plays a hand at conveying the rich world of Hanan and her kids. One scene that gave audiences an unwavering portrayal of their tough life is a shot where the camera jumps between two moments, one of Hanan’s son struggling to quiet his crying sister and another of Hanan herself, painting a boat. In that scene we see Hanan balanced on a ledge, lips shivering with green and blue paint strewn all over her face. Having to stay up till the break of dawn to cover up the name of her husbands ship to hide it from her brother-in-law with many viewers saying that particular scene was extremely painful to watch.
Thinking of all these components, the cinematography, the plot and the exceptional acting of Zaki made many viewers not only say that “Taht El Wesaya” may be the best Ramadan show of this season but that it may even win an Emmy. With all that has been said, we are curious to know what you think?