Presenting a new twist to the heart-breaking tale of a woman being forced into marrying an older guy, all eyes are on the stunning Mai Omar for her outstanding performance in this Ramadan’s Weld El Ghalaba, where she’s far from being the victim. We’ve chatted with the beautiful inside-out actress and here are her insights on the series & on how she raises her girls.
- What were your initial reaction when your first read the script?
I felt like my part isn’t that good at the beginning. I had this dilemma deciding if my character “Farah” was good or evil. Does she have good intentions? How is she good, but still wants to kill someone? It was strange. When I got convinced that she’s not 100% good, I felt comfortable playing her.
Since the series is directed by Mohammad Samy, my husband, starring Ahmed El Sakka and produced by Sadek El Sabbah, I trusted that I was with a very strong team. I trust Mohammed so much, not because he’s my husband, but because he is a brilliant director.
- You character faces challenges to her main principles, do you think that sometimes the end justifies the means?
Yes, sometimes. I feel like sometimes you have a good thing that you want to reach, but you can’t always do it through the ‘correct’ manner. For me, the most important thing is what you’re trying to reach or your end goal. There was a quote I loved in Julia Roberts’ movie Wonder, “Being kind is more important than being right!”
- What message do you think your role is sending to women in a similar situation?
Of course, it’s not at all acceptable to kill their husbands! But in my opinion, people should not tolerate this kind of abuse from anyone, not just their spouses. At least in the series she did not like her husband, but sometimes women tolerate this for love or other reasons, but I don’t think this is acceptable.
- How do you think women can get out of these situations in the right manner?
I believe that women should be independent so she can get herself out of anything. Once she’s independent, she can really do anything.
- After playing the role of a girl who’s forced into marriage & abused by her husband, you feel that this is still the reality for some girls in Egypt?
It’s a disaster. It definitely affects their personalities later on; it’s a totally different story. To alter this reality, change has to happen from the roots, starting from their education earlier on. They need to be taught that their rights and duties are just like men.
- Your scene with Ezzat, your husband, when you tricked him into believing that you poisoned him was a masterpiece. Can you tell us more about your rehearsals and preps for it? How did you feel when you watched it later?
We do not really rehearse. We just do it once in the closest way to reality to get the director’s instructions. I feel like scenes need to be one take because the true feelings emerge in the first shot. If you repeat, it won’t be as real as the first time.
The only thing we practice for is the scenes that involve being beaten up, so you don’t get hit in reality.
- How do you usually feel when you watch your scenes?
I like some of them, and sometimes I feel like why am I talking weird? Why am I doing this? I am very self-conscious. The first time I ever watch myself is this year, I usually do not watch my work. I used to feel shy when someone watches them beside me, but I got used to it.
- How do you feel about working with your husband in the same field? How does it feel that you share the same projects? Would you encourage couples to do the same?
I love working with my husband. A lot of people criticize this, but I really enjoy it. I know Mohamed since college, he’s my best friend. That’s why we like to work together.
- What is manhood to you?
It’s too many things. A man is responsible and reliable. The most important thing is to respect women.
- As a mother raising two daughters, what are the challenges of raising daughters in this society?
My daughters are still young, one is 7 years old and the other one is a year old, but I always try to teach them that they’re as equally capable as boys.
My older daughter has a very strong personality. I was once working on something, and she suddenly told me, “No, don’t go just because dad told you so. He’s not the boss of you.” I feel like the younger generations are already a bit more independent.