Dubai: Walking into Saeed Al Janahi’s office at Dubai Studio City is like entering a young boy’s room. The wall-mounted shelves behind his desk are full of action figures.
There’s Tom Cruise, Bruce Lee, Ronaldo – limited editions – along with different avatars of Michael Jackson, Adnan and Lina, Benjamin Price, Jeff Turner, even Steve Jobs, to name a few. Lying on the ground are some unopened boxes of action heroes, including one with a bigger-than-usual Rocky.
But try telling Al Janahi that the room doesn’t seem like an office, and snap comes the reply: “I disagree. Now my job is all about entertainment.”
As director of operations at the Dubai Film and TV Commission, Al Janahi is responsible for all films and commercials that are shot in Dubai. So it’s perfectly okay for the hot toys, some of them from movies shot in Dubai, to be at his workspace.
But the strange coincidence, he lets on later, is that he began collecting action figures long before he took the high office.
Collecting action figures has been a passion right from my childhood... Now my job is also all about entertainment”
- Saeed Al Janahi | Dubai Film & TV Commission
“It’s been a passion right from my childhood,” says the 36-year-old Emirati. “The figures are safer here than at home where I would have to share them with my five-year-old son,” he jokes.
Al Janahi is also an avid gamer, so much so that his wife often tells him he is “like a kid”.
“But for me, it is a serious industry, much like the movies. In fact, some games have higher budgets and deeper dynamics. Of course, many debate the dangers of gaming, but if you take care and follow the rules, you are safe,” says the Play Station buff.
That’s not all there is to Al Janahi. He is also a passionate biker. Recalling his last biking trip with two friends, he says, “We covered 6,500 kilometres, 14 cities and seven countries in Europe. A part of my annual leave goes for my biking tours. It’s a well-planned affair and my friends and I have covered the GCC. This was our first tour outside the region.”
What’s the best thing about the trips? “It’s a great feeling to represent the UAE in so many places and have cultural exchanges with people from different backgrounds. Riding is also a wonderful way to destress.”
Art of collecting action figures
Collecting action figures is a popular hobby. Considered a lot of fun, it helps collectors feel young again and keep their love for their favourite films, TV shows and heroes alive. Action figures, which don’t come cheap, are also deemed a great investment as they command huge premiums in the collectibles market.