Hani Ramzy reflects on his TV comeback, reveals potential cinema return

Kadry Al-Haggar
12 Min Read

Egyptian actor Hani Ramzy is among the few who have managed to rise to stardom through his exceptional work, showcasing his artistry, talent, and cultural significance among the top stars. He thrives on challenging and intricate roles in satirical comedy, breathing life into each character he portrays. The renowned artist has made a comeback to television with the series “Bedoon Moqabel” and is currently immersed in crafting a new screenplay, keeping the details under wraps for now. Our encounter with him led to an insightful conversation.

 

What are the reasons for halting your series “Bedoon Moqabel” and its exit from the Ramadan programming plan?

The decision to halt the production of my latest series, “Bedoon Moqabel,” and withdraw it from the Ramadan programming plan was not due to any problems. On the contrary, we had completed approximately 50% of the filming before the start of Ramadan. However, the series was temporarily withdrawn from the race due to the need for additional work on its graphics and editing. In the meantime, I decided to take a vacation and travel to Canada and America.

 

Were you frustrated or angry because your series was not aired in Ramadan?

It did not evoke any feelings of frustration or anger within me. I believe showcasing it outside the holy month may lead to even greater success. I am hopeful that the audience will appreciate the series, as it focuses on the bravery of security personnel in the face of terrorism, set within a tragic and suspenseful social context. In this project, I portray the character of retired policeman Shehab Al-Rifai.

 

How do you choose your films and series?

The selection process for my works isn’t solely based on my role; rather, I consider the entirety of the series and its various components. I consider the potential impact it may have on the viewer, as well as the overall quality of all the elements involved—such as direction, acting, and production. If I come across a flaw or inconsistency in any of these elements, I prefer to step back quietly. I believe I don’t need to release work every year, especially if it runs the risk of failure due to a single weak element.

 

What was the secret behind your unexpected return to television following your appearance as a guest on the series “Al Aaedoun”?

A: Lately, I’ve been on the lookout for a remarkable series that would portray me in a positive light to television audiences, particularly after the honourable impression they had of me. While numerous projects were proposed to me during this period, I scrutinised them thoroughly and failed to find anything that would truly motivate me. However, I didn’t lose hope and persevered in my search. Eventually, the series “Bedoon Moqabel,” directed by Gamal Abdel Hamid, came along, and I was captivated by both the script and the role I would be playing alongside a talented ensemble of actors.

 

Do you think this series will achieve success?

I believe that “Bedoon Moqabel” has great potential for success. Its strong value and unique focus on the heroics of security personnel in the face of terrorism give me confidence that it will surpass the success of many other works.

 

Are you satisfied with the work you’ve presented throughout your artistic career?

I am content with the work I’ve showcased throughout my artistic career. My satisfaction doesn’t stem from chance or an absence of mistakes; rather, it comes from understanding that, as humans, we are all prone to errors. Some may appreciate a piece I’ve presented while others may not. Such diversity in artistic taste is both present and beneficial. Even the most renowned works of art have their proponents and detractors. I am pleased with every endeavour I’ve undertaken thus far.

 

What are your thoughts on your upcoming film?

I am excited about creating a sorrowful film infused with drama, where laughter either plays a minor role or serves as the primary element. Although I haven’t finalized the plot yet, I aspire to bring something unique to the table. There’s a chance I may make errors and face criticism, but I’m committed to presenting a distinct character with each endeavour.

 

You’ve been absent from the cinema for some time, haven’t you?

Yes, that’s correct. I am currently in the process of preparing for a new film project, and with the grace of God, I’ll be announcing it shortly.

 

Why don’t you present collective cinematic works starring multiple actors?

I’m not concerned about being the sole focus of attention in a film. What truly matters to me is the quality of the content. I’m motivated to take on any role that fulfils my passion as an actor, even if it involves just one scene. For instance, I made a brief appearance in the movie “Hammam in Amsterdam” alongside my friend Mohamed Henedy, and I also played a guest role in the series “Al Aaedoun”. Artistic work, in my view, is a cohesive entity, and I’m open to collaborating with other actors as long as the script is equitable and doesn’t favour one party over the other.

 

Your works often fall under political comedy. Why is that?

I consistently delve into the realm of political comedy because I have a fondness for what I call “humane comedy.” This genre allows me to explore real-life situations and the public sphere, shedding light on the issues and dreams of individuals in a captivating manner that is both clever and entertaining. I align myself with the principles of situational comedy, steering clear of crassness and approaching the audience with a heartfelt touch.

 

So, you don’t care about the box office?

While I do pay attention to the box office, my primary aspiration is for my films to achieve great success in cinemas. This boosts the confidence of producers and distributors. In the Egyptian film industry, revenue is crucial, but it should be balanced with creativity, meaningful content, and a connection with the Egyptian audience and its societal concerns through high-quality cinema. I meticulously examine each project I undertake to strike a balance between commercial success and creating a distinguished film that reflects reality with a touch of satire.

 

Don’t you agree with me that your last cinematic work, the movie “Qesti Beyewgani,” did not achieve high revenues, which affected your stardom?

I have a different perspective on this matter. I am grateful to have been presented with numerous opportunities and scripts, which indicate that my career is thriving. It is crucial to note that the financial success of a film primarily lies in the hands of the producer. If my works fail to generate the expected revenues, it is unlikely that I will be approached for future projects. However, it is worth mentioning that the distribution of a film extends beyond theatres alone. It reaches international markets, satellite channels, streaming platforms, and DVD sales, all of which contribute to the producer’s revenue.

 

Why haven’t you considered doing a comedy film recently?

Despite my ongoing struggle to find good material to create a comedy film and being bound by challenging contracts that I am unsure how to execute, the options presented to me have been subpar. Nevertheless, I maintain an optimistic outlook that we will eventually produce a delightful comedy piece. Through you, I extend an invitation to establish a comedy festival among the various festivals in Egypt. It seems unreasonable for Egypt, a pioneer in the world of cinema, to lack a comedy festival, especially when other countries with relatively young film industries have successfully organized such events.

 

There is a complaint that the younger generation does not care about festivals. What is your response?

I make sure to participate in all festivals, and it is essential for artists to actively engage in their country’s festivals and show genuine interest in them. It is unacceptable for festivals to be held under Egypt’s name while artists choose not to participate. On the contrary, their presence is crucial. I also look forward to seeing more festivals organized in various Egyptian cities to boost tourism.

 

Why did you abandon the private theatre when so many people had hopes for you to support it?

I desire to once again grace the stage, as I have spent my formative years and dedicated nearly 17 years of my life to the theatre. Just last year, I had the opportunity to perform in a play, reigniting my passion for the stage. However, to continue my theatrical journey, I require a new theatre equipped with modern technology and the grandeur that is found in theatres worldwide. The productions we currently offer are reminiscent of the theatre from the sixties, and we have regrettably fallen behind in keeping up with the global advancements in the field. This failure lies with the theatre community itself.

 

Is it the responsibility of the state to construct a sophisticated theatre, as you previously stated?

Certainly, it falls under the jurisdiction of the state; however, considering the challenging economic circumstances Egypt is presently facing and the Ministry of Culture’s constrained budget, it is imperative to make investments in theatre as it will yield significant benefits.

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