Shahid, an MBC-backed video-on-demand service, broadcasted its first-ever original drama series, El Diva, on November 27th, taking the Arab world by storm. Cyrine Abdel Nour, El Diva’s lead actress, has starred in a number of MBC series, including Ruby and Al Hayba Alhasad, the latter of which was released this past May. Also of note are actors Yaqoub Al-Farhan and Bossi, director Randa Alam, and executive producer is May Abi Raad. The writing cast comprises Sarah Faraj, Hind Ridhwan, Sama Abdelkhaliq, Angie Alqasim, and Jad Khoueri. The episodes were filmed in the fall, adding to the beauty of the scenes. The first season saw roughly eight episodes no longer than 10 minutes each, and feature lifestyles of celebrities and the backstage elements.
El Diva’s premise revolves around three main characters, who are all judges on a talent show, giving audiences a look behind the curtain of show business. An instant hit, the show served a major role in helping MBC successfully break a long stint of stagnation in the Lebanese media scene. The creators of the show held a press conference in Dhabiyya, and discussed how El Diva artfully sheds light on the actual challenges that creators and producers of MBC talent shows endured when starting out. Various cast members also attended the event, including Wisam Faris, Dori Samrani and Nabali Arqaji. Mahira Abdulaziz, one of the biggest personalities on MBC, also made an appearance.
At the press conference, Cyrine Abdel Nour explained how surprised she was upon first examining the script. Instead of the premise revolving around one character, she found it followed the stories of numerous characters, revealing several facets of show business. Abdel Nour plays Reema, an emotionally dynamic character who feeds into rumors circulating around both her professional and personal lives. Perhaps Reema’s most important responsibility, Abdel Nour reflected, is to illustrate how those in the industry so often find themselves caught up in “keeping up with the Joneses.”
Supporting actors also made notable comments at the event. Yaqoub Al Farhan, also spoke to how accurately El Diva portrays the actuality of show business, while Bossi discussed how unique the script was and how her character deals with the jealousy that’s so rampant in show business.
Very soon after El Diva aired, Cyrine Abdel Nour became a sensation among her peers. It soon became necessary for her, however, to address the amount of domestic violence inflicted upon her character — Abdel Nour’s fans were concerned the violence extended past the episodes and into her reality. Yes, of course she’s had some heated discussions with her husband, but she explains nothing has come close to being violent. She does, however, take the opportunity to encourage those women who are involved in abusive relationships to stand up for themselves, and by doing so has become an advocate.
Don’t miss out on the Lebanese series, El Diva, on Shahid Plus when you subscribe to the Arabic mosaic pack on Sling TV!