Imam's no more religious but back on the small screen

Published June 28th, 2012 - 12:38 GMT
Adel Imam
Adel Imam

He’s one of the Arab world’s best known stars, but 2012 didn’t get off to the best start for Adel Imam. The legendary actor had been in hiding for a few months after being sentenced to three months in prison for contempt of religion in his films — a lawsuit widely criticised by the Arab entertainment world.

However, Imam made a rare public appearance late last week, which has been welcomed by fans. The 72-year-old agreed to appear on Al Arabiya TV after casting his vote in the Egyptian presidential election run-offs in Cairo. During the live interview, Imam revealed that threats had been made against his family after the regime of former president Hosni Mubarak was overthrown.

“[After the events] I was concerned over the state of security — for the country, for myself and for others,” he said. “I received threats from individuals who were going to kidnap my grandchildren unless I gave them 2 million pounds — it has been terrifying.”

Disappointingly, when asked about his lawsuit, the actor avoided responding to the question by talking about the vote instead.

“We’re in a very critical situation at the moment; we’re criticising the army, the police and the judiciary system — we’ve got nothing left to criticise in Egypt!” he said, declining to reveal who he personally voted for. However, some of his quotes suggest that he did not vote for the newly elected president Mohammad Mursi, adding: “The youth that started the revolution of January 25 were great young people, who had no agenda. They just wanted freedom and democracy.

“They then disappeared, and other groups emerged. I am worried that as a nation we are going to forget about literature, art and music. I miss music in Egypt. Even the genres are changing — what is with all the new genres we’re taking on like rap music, for example?

“But at the end of the day, the voice of the people comes above all — so we need to support the new president, whoever he is, for the benefit of Egypt. But I am certainly against voiding your vote — it is a unique chance to make a change to your country.”

Following a long absence from the small screen, Imam makes his big TV comeback this Ramadan in the drama Ferkat Nagy Attallah.

Directed by his son Rami Imam, and starring his other son Mohammad, plus Anushka, Ahmad Al Saadani, Amr Ramzi and Nedal Al Shafei, promos for the drama have already appeared on MBC4, and fan reactions online have been positive. The series features Imam as a retired officer who worked at the Egyptian embassy in Tel Aviv, who then trains a former military group to undertake a complicated operation.

When shooting started back in 2009, the project was initially set to be a film; however, Imam stated that they “added to the script and it changed from a full comedy to something longer to include more action and drama, as well as feature more characters.”

The series is not political, but does touch on the state of Egyptian-Israeli relations through comedic scenes. Filming took place in Al Arish, Rafah and Port Said in Egypt, as well as in Beirut, Lebanon.

“We have got a few scenes left, but it is scheduled to wrap very soon,” Imam added in the interview.

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