Hala Sedqi, a luminary in the realms of drama and cinema, has graced the industry with her remarkable talent for many years. Renowned for her effortless performances, her participation in any creative endeavor lends it a unique gravitas. With a commitment to preserving her legacy, she selectively undertakes roles that align with her esteemed artistic reputation. Embracing the evolution of life, she recognizes that each stage of life offers roles that resonate with one’s experiences. After a hiatus of over two decades from the Theatre, she is poised for a powerful comeback with the play “Sawabi’ Zainab.” Her portrayal of “Safsaf” in the critically acclaimed series “Jaafar Al-Omda” has garnered immense success, the accolades for which she continues to receive to this day.
Can you share insights about “Sawabi’ Zainab,” the play marking your return to Theatre after a significant hiatus?
Indeed, my absence spanned over two decades, instilling in me a profound excitement and joy for my return. The Theatre, with its unique ambiance and live audience, holds a special place in my heart. In “Sawabi’ Zainab,” I embody “Zainab,” a mother whose life is riddled with humorous contradictions, shared with the ensemble. The play is set to premiere during the Riyadh season in Saudi Arabia.
Does the prospect of returning to the stage intimidate you after such a long break?
Not in the slightest. Theatre, being the cornerstone of the arts, has always been a domain I approach without fear. Despite its grandeur, it signifies a pivotal milestone in an artist’s journey. My absence was not by choice but a quest for a script that resonated with me.
You’re also making a comeback in cinema. Could you tell us more about this venture?
“Ketf Qanouny” is a comedic film that piqued my interest due to its divergence from my previous roles. I portray a gym owner entangled in comedic situations. This film is a response to the audience’s craving for humor and their affection for my comedic performances. Such films are rare, yet highly sought after.
What has led to your prolonged absence from the film industry?
My last cinematic appearance was five years ago in “The Last Rooster in Egypt” alongside Mohamed Ramadan. Since then, I’ve been selective, awaiting scripts that truly reflect my essence. The film industry is ever-evolving, and I prioritize projects that resonate with me and bring me fulfillment.
After the acclaim for your role in “Jaafar Al-Amda,” has the selection of future roles become more challenging?
The success of my character in the series “Safsaf” has set a high bar, prompting introspection about my career trajectory. It’s a motivator, a new chapter in my life that I embrace wholeheartedly. Post-“Safsaf,” I’ve declined numerous offers, seeking roles that demand my full commitment and align with my artistic vision. It’s about looking ahead and not settling for mediocrity.
How do you feel about the numerous awards and honors you’ve received for your portrayal of “Safsaf”?
It’s truly a divine blessing. The role of Safsaf and the series itself have been a stroke of good fortune. I’m honored to have received the Best Actress award in several Arab countries, including at prestigious events like the Bahrain International Film Festival, the First International Iraqi Film Festival, the Lebanese Murex D’or, the Rabat Film Festival, and even the Women’s Festival in America. Additional accolades from Kuwait, Tunisia, the Emirates, and the New Alamein Drama Festival in Egypt have been incredibly humbling. The audience’s love and celebration of Safsaf, evidenced by the millions of views and personal accolades through letters, calls, and daily praises, have made me deeply consider my next artistic venture to ensure it resonates as strongly as Safsaf’s success.
What’s the status of the second part of the “Jaafar Al-Omda” series?
Currently, I haven’t signed on for the second part of “Jaafar Al-Omda,” and it seems likely to be postponed until the 2025 Ramadan season. Neither director Mohamed Sami nor Mohamed Ramadan has discussed my participation in the series’ filming. The idea was suggested after gauging public opinion on the streets of Egypt. Given my commitment to an Emirati series, joining the new part of “Jaafar Al-Omda” this year would be challenging.
What motivated you to venture into Gulf drama with an Emirati project?
Several factors drew me to Gulf drama. The uniqueness and novelty of the project’s concept, my desire for artistic transformation, and the distinctiveness of my role compared to “Jaafar Al-Omda” were significant motivators. The Emirati series also highlights women’s issues, a cause I champion in all circumstances. The series will be filmed across multiple countries, including Egypt, America, the Emirates, and Saudi Arabia, adding to its appeal.
Has your lifelong dream of portraying “Queen Hatshepsut” dissipated?
[Laughs] For many years, I did dream of bringing Queen Hatshepsut’s story to life. However, as time passed, I realized that my dream wouldn’t come to fruition due to my age. To be candid, I’ve decided against depicting biographies of historical figures. Such portrayals haven’t historically met success, as they demand extensive research, time, effort, and meticulous preparation. And that’s only if the character’s story is rich enough to warrant a dramatic retelling.
What are the defining artistic milestones in Hala Sedqi’s career?
Every project I’ve been a part of holds significance as an artistic milestone. However, some works have surpassed my expectations in their success. “Jaafar Al-Omda” has been a recent highlight, but it’s the film “The Escape” with the legendary Ahmed Zaki, and the enduring series “The Million Trip,” still watched after over 35 years, that stand out. The series “No, My Dear Daughter,” “Zezenia,” and “Arabesque” were pivotal in shaping my career and contributing to my stardom. Today, the landscape has transformed with social media, enhancing the interaction between the public, artists, and their work, thus broadening the reach and viewership of our artistic endeavours.