Bushra has gone from young promising actress to starlet, earning Diff ’s Best Actress award. Image Credit: Megan Hirons Mahon/Gulf News

As with many in the film industry, there tends to be one role that can change an actor from a well-known face into a fully established artist. And it seems Bushra found that role this year.

The Egyptian actress plays the lead in the new film 678, which explores sexual harassment in Egypt — a subject that is increasingly under scrutiny.

The film, which has just gone on general release across Egypt, has already received critical acclaim in the UAE after it showed at this year's Dubai International Film Festival (Diff), and received a standing ovation at its gala screening. Meanwhile, Bushra has gone from young promising actress to starlet, earning Diff's Best Actress award.

 

How are you feeling after your win?

I am very thankful for this award, and it is an honour to be part of 678. Diff gave us a great opportunity as they really showed a lot of interest and gave a lot of support to the film.

As for the award, any award we receive is one we dedicate to the film, so I am happy with whatever accolades we receive.

How did your involvement with 678 come about?

[Director] Mohammad Diab approached me with the script, and it was originally meant to be a short, but because of the subject matter, I felt it deserved more. We needed to highlight this serious issue, and eventually it turned into a full feature film.

Tell us more about your character, Faiza.

Faiza is a simple young woman who comes from a poor background. She is married and earns minimum wage in an unpleasant job. She heads to work every day in an overcrowded bus — the number 678. It is on that bus that she experiences harassment, and goes about finding a solution.

Was it hard taking on such an intense role?

Oh, it was definitely hard. When I used to hear of actors that took ages to get out of a character after they stopped filming, I used to think it was nonsense, but now I know what they are talking about. It definitely took a while to get out of that state of mind.

I even felt claustrophobic when we were filming on the bus, even though the bus was full of extras. So imagine what it is like in real life.

Did you worry about what the public's reaction? Did you worry you may be seen as trying to tarnish your country's image?

We've all been harassed — even I have. And that's another reason why I didn't hesitate to take part in the project. Because nearly every woman has experienced it at some point in her life.

This is not a film aiming at tarnishing Egypt's image — it is about highlighting a very serious issue. An issue that happens everywhere in the world. And it is not just about sexual harassment — it is about all types of suffering women can endure, and the film presents the reasons that lead to these.

This is an informative film for the fathers who are worried about their daughters, the husbands who are worried about their wives, the brothers who are worried about their sisters, and even for the sons who are worried about their mothers.

It was one of the biggest box-office hits of last summer, raking in 13.8 million Egyptians pounds (Dh8.66 million) in Egypt alone, now Tamer Hosny's latest movie, Nour Einey (The Light of my Eye) is out on DVD.

In the rom-com-drama, Hosny plays Ahmad, who loves nothing more than performing and putting on shows at the school of arts he attends. Nothing new here, as Hosny seems to have to sing with any acting role he takes on.

Another thing to be very similar to Hosny's previous work is that, surprise, surprise, he meets and falls in love with a beautiful girl.

Only this time, the girl, Sara (played by Menna Shalaby) is visually impaired, and doesn't notice Ahmad at first.

But will love happen? Let's just say the movie turns into what Lionel Richie's Hello music video would have been if it was a feature.

Yehia will be missed

It has been a sad week in the Arab entertainment world with the sudden death of Lebanese director Yehia Saade.

Saade — known for creating music videos for some of Arabia's biggest stars including Haifa Wehbe and Myriam Fares — was in Turkey shooting Maya Diab's latest single when he suffered an electric shock. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

A host of stars arrived in Beirut to attend his funeral, including Fares, Diab, Nicole Saba and Jad Choueiri.

Jumana: Expect more wanted men

Jumana Murad has said that her latest drama series, Matloob Rejal (Wanted Men) is a sign of things to come in the world of television, with more series attracting casts of multiple of nationalities from the region. The series, set in Dubai, follows the fictitious stories of several housewives of different Arab origins living in the emirate.

She said: "We've had a great response from viewers so far, so I think it will be welcomed by bigger audiences once the series reaches free-to-air audiences."

She added that with Matloob Rejal comprising actors of Syrian, Egyptian and Khaleeji origin, more TV producers will look into taking on the same model for future projects.

Jamal won't be Saddam

Syrian actor Jamal Sulaiman has denied that he is set to play the role of the late Iraqi president Saddam Hussain in the series Ana w Saddam (Saddam and I).

According to news reports, Sulaiman stressed that although he was in talks to take part in the drama, the script is yet to be finalised.

Additionally, the actor pointed out that despite disagreeing with many of the policies and dictatorship of Hussain, he believes that his execution was "barbaric" and "those who carried it out were not innocent either", and that it should be portrayed in the series.