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Mohammed's poetry turned into epic TV drama

A Staff Reporter
Filed on April 6, 2008

DUBAI The shooting of the bedouin serial Siraa Ala Al Rimal (Struggle on the Sands) has concluded with a special ceremony in Marrakesh, Morocco, according to a Press release from the Media Office of His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, yesterday.

The $6 million serial, partly shot in Marrakesh, and which took five months to complete, is based on the poetry of Shaikh Mohammed. It will be telecast during the next holy month of Ramadan.

The cast and crew of the serial celebrated the completion of the shooting, recalling the special experiences during the production of the biggest-ever Arabic drama.

The serial is directed by Syrian director Hatim Ali and scripted by Syrian author Hani Al Saadi, while author Hisham Kafarnah adapted the classic Arabic poetry into the Arabic bedouin dialect.

The shooting was completed in four phases. Hatim Ali shot some episodes in the desert between Dubai and Al Ain, while the other episodes were shot in Palmyra, which is located in the heart of the Syrian desert, and Marrakesh, Morocco.

Tense and ferocious battle scenes in which more than 1,000 cast and 150 jockeys took part were filmed as part of the serial. Horses which featured in famous international films were also deployed for the battle scenes.

Siraa Ala Al Rimal has utilised the state-of-the art filming technologies and techniques to produce the epic that has excelled in form and content, said Ahmed Al Shaikh, media aide of Shaikh Mohammed.

Director Hatim Ali, who had nine successful works to his credit, said the serial would revolutionise Arab drama.

He paid rich tributes to Shaikh Mohammed, describing him as an exceptional Arab personality. He said his enthusiasm to direct the work was Shaikh Mohammed's prolific authorship of the epic narratives and poems. 'He (Shaikh Mohammed) not only brought about a miracle by transforming the desert into an urban destination but also initiated a cultural and artistic giant leap in the region,' Hatim Ali said.

The events of Siraa Ala Al Rimal date back to the 18th century during the occupation of the Arabian peninsula by the Othman empire. The work addresses significant issues, he said.

Jordanian actress Saba Mubarak said such a piece of work would be trendsetter in the field of Arab television dramas.

Actor Tim Hassan said the serial is an overwhelming work by all means and is worth telecasting in the holy month of Ramadan.

The making

  • Shooting of the serial took five months
  • Hundred of tonnes of sand were transported by trucks to Marrakesh to create the desert landscape for the battle scenes
  • The first-ever Arabic serial to be shot in five main sites in four Arab countries
  • 1,000 cast members and 150 jockeys took part in battle scenes featuring well-trained horses
  • 40 artistes in major roles in the serial

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