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Egyptian director Tamer Mahdi, who will roll out his career’s first Arabic musical ‘Sukkar’ in UAE cinemas on October 12, claims he has taken a huge creative gamble with this project. However, being a part of its red-carpet call in the UAE alleviated those fears considerably.

“It [‘Sukkar’] was a long-awaited project and it wasn’t easy because it was a very risky venture,” said Mahdi in an interview with Gulf News at the red carpet premiere in Dubai last week. “It [‘Sukkar’] needed to be backed by a production vision, a strong budget, and a team with the right calibre. And you needed to have that X factor for a musical like this."

‘Sukkar’, backed by the Saudi-owned production house MBC Group, is a stirring tale of a bunch of orphans who grow up in a harsh orphanage and dream of a better life. One of their inmates, named Jazara, gets chosen for adoption but Sukkar and the gang from her orphanage learn that she’s being mistreated in her new foster home. Inspired by the American novel ‘Daddy Long Legs’, this film narrates the events that transpire in her life.

“Honestly, it’s a secret, but I haven’t read the novel because I hate reading something that I am about to shoot. I need to fly with my imagination … and that’s why I think it’s going to be my own version of something that I haven’t read,” said Mahdi.

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Egyptian director Tamer Mahdi believes the Arabic 'Sukkar', needed the backing by a big house, a strong budget and a team with the right calibre Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

‘Sukkar’ is scripted by Heba Mishari Hamad, a Kuwaiti writer, and stars ‘Arabs Got Talent’ sensation Hala Turk. The movie, boasting of an ensemble cast, including actors Yasmina El Abd, Hajar Mohammad, Wedeema Ahmad, Maria Jumaah, Moataz Hesham, Mohammad Al-Harbi, Bavly Remon, and twins Abdullah Khaled and Omar Khaled, features original songs written by Hamada and is scored by Egyptian composer Ehad Abdel Wahed.

Actor Moataz Hesham, who plays a footballer in this musical, expressed his excitement at being a part of such a “big and prestigious” project.

“I am so happy tonight. This is a big project and I am very happy to be one of the cast members. I play Tariq, an ambitious footballer. He wants to be a big football player. He loves soccer and dreams of being famous. And I hope everyone likes our musical,” said Hesham at the red carpet.

Director Mahdi also points out that every actor in this musical put their best foot forward.

“We are very hopeful because we were very meticulous about making this musical. Every single detail counts … In the Arab world, we have very big hearts and strong emotions … I hope everyone will feel that vibe when they see ‘Sukkar’,” said Mahdi, who’s also a big fan of Bollywood and Hollywood musicals.

“Arabs love to dance and sing. We are very expressive with our emotions. It runs in our blood, and I hope ‘Sukkar’ will be a project that will have many talking about it around the globe after its release. It’s a big deal,” he added.

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Actress Wadima Ahmed at the red carpet for the Arabic musical 'Sukkar'. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Actress Wadima Ahmed was equally excited about the venture. “I play Nedjma in this musical, and she’s the snitch of the group. She’s sneaky … It was a nice role to play someone sneaky … And I can’t wait to see the reactions to the movie. This musical has a great story, music, and songs.”

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‘Sukkar’ will be out in UAE cinemas on October 12