Ahmed Ezz 365 spoke to Manju Ramanan after his film Youm Sa’da (365 Days of Love)
It was a packed premiere when I went to watch 365 Youm Sa’ada at Festival City. Probably the only one in the crowd who didn’t understand Arabic but was well assisted by one of UAE’s most talented poets and film-makers Nujoom Al Ghanem, who graciously whispered and summarized the film scene by scene to me, that I instantly felt at ease. The comedy/romance genre stars Salah Abdallah, Mai Kassab, Lamitta Frangieh, Ahmed Ezz, Donia Samir Ghanem. Its screen-play has been written by Youssif Ma’aty and the film is directed by Said El Marouk who worked as a second assistant-director with director Michael Bay in 2009 on Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen, when they were filming the scenes in Egypt beside the Pyramids of Giza.
I have a lot to learn about cinema in the Gulf but yes, from my love for Indian cinema, it was natural for me to draw parallels between a popular Indian film and 365 Youm Saa’da. Not one but several Hindi films have used this plot of a playboy reformed by a pretty but strong woman
The film 365 Youm Saa’da revolves around a playboy millionaire called Hady, played by the dashing Egyptian star Ahmed Ezz ( when I interviewed Ezz before the premiere, I learnt that he loves Indian cinema and has watched them quite frequently – his favourite Indian star being Amitabh Bachchan).
Hady has everything at his feet. The looks, money and charm and women. In fact, his office is shown to have female staff exclusively except for one male advisor. Hady is shown to have several relationships with women but avoids real marriages, though, he marries them secretly through a system called orfy – a temporary marital arrangement which he calls off every other time citing reasons of being terminally ill with cancer. However, his perfect world comes crashing down when he meets the perfect girl, played by actress Donia Samir Ghanem, who tell him that she has cancer and has but a year to live. So, he decides to marry her to make the next 365 days in her life most memorable. What ensues is a series of comic and dramatic situations with everything sorting out at the end. The film also has a supporting cast of popular talents that have short appearances. They include Lotfy Labib, Mai Kassab, Salah Abdallah and Youssef Daoud.
Youm Saa’da seems to be a film of the commercial genre that draws its own audience – an audience that walks into a theatre to indulge in a world of make-believe, a world where things go right in the end, a world where there are a few laughs and funny situations that you take home and discuss with friends, till the next commercial film arrives.