Haifa Wahbi strives to find more freedom in Paris
Egyptian controversial director Enas Al Deghaidi has nominated Lebanese singer Haifa Wahbi, instead of Lebanese actress Nour, for a leading role in her upcoming film “Al Bahithat An Al Huria” (Girls Seeking Freedom), to play the part of Lebanese girl who lives in Paris-France. The film will mark Haifa’s first leading role ever offered throughout her career.
According to the Arab magazine, Al Waad, once Enas received Haifa’s acceptance, she began all the necessary preparations and alterations needed for the film in order to begin shooting the scenes. The film revolves around problems Arab girls living abroad encounter striving to find ways of having their own freedom. Each of the girls, who are chosen from different countries, tries to break free of the traditional Arab restrictions found in their countries and escape to the West.
The girls encounter unexpected restrictions while living abroad which make them wish they never left their home countries and makes them realize that any problem faced at home can be solved much easier than ones found abroad. The film is a wakeup call to those living under the illusion that the West holds all the answers to freedom, where it shows the negative aspects immigrating has on people’s lives in terms of cultural and religious differences that are difficult to acquire.
On a different note, the song “Ma Sar” (It Did Not Happen) by Wahbi was chosen by EMI Records Company to be included in an international CD of music by artists from around the world. Haifa’s song was placed right after a song by British well-known singer Boy George. This occasion marks the first step for Haifa in her quest to reach international fame. Her second step will be marked on July 30, 2003 as she is scheduled to hold a performance on the famous French Lido Theater in France, being the second Arab singer to have such an opportunity.
Haifa added that despite the weakness of her voice, she is proud of the success she has so far achieved as a singer. The singer noted that she does not consider herself to be talented as a singer but rather as a performer. She has the tendency to perform her songs and that is what has given her notice in the music industry. She added that she does not mind the negative criticism she has received from the media for the mere fact that she admitted her capabilities the moment she decided to become a singer.
Al Deghaidi, well-known for being one of the most provocative and daring directors of the era, has filed a lawsuit against the Arab satellite channel ART. Enas's complaint came after ART aired scenes on the show "La Tathhab Hatha Al Massa" (Don't Leave This Evening), from one of her films “Muthakkarat Murahiqa” (Adolescent’s Memoirs), that are restricted and uncensored.
Enas was very disappointed when she found out ART had broadcasted the scenes that were restricted by the Egyptian Censors, in turn negatively affect her image and reputation. The show featured film critics that were focusing on Enas's daring film pointing out its negative features. Enas had taken part in the show over the phone in which she exploded in anger reprimanding those that referred to her a director who only produces sex films that have no real meaning to them.
Deghaidi has always been the cause of various hot debates in the Arab World for her films. She is known for arousing violent reactions among the audience and critics with her hot film scenes. Her film “Muthakkarat Murahiqa” is considered by some observers as an insult to the Egyptian girl, which prompted one of the viewers to file a lawsuit against her. She was found not guilty in the lawsuit raised against her for defaming girls in Egypt.
The film, which was scripted by Abdel Hai Adib, is about an adolescent student named Jamila (Hind Sabri), who is a romantic girl coming from a middle class family with dreams of love. Jamila fanaticizes about herself as Cleopatra, with her lover Antonio. She meets her lover accidentally and lives with him as if in a love story.
Despite all of this, Deghaidi insists on her style in tackling issues in the cinema pushing the envelope of challenge. She adds that “The reaction to the film is very good and this is evidenced by the large revenues it generated and the large number of people who saw it. The film doesn’t in any way insult the woman and just brings-to-lightsome of the prohibited acts a girl may violate. - Albawaba
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)