Latifa and Hesham Selim Shimmer on the Small Screen

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It’s that time of year when everyone is super busy preparing for the holy month’s festivities.  And, among the busiest are the actors working on impossibly tight schedules to ensure that their Ramadan TV series are finished on time and are worth the watch.  Luckily for us, despite their hectic schedules, eniGma’s Salma Hussein managed to catch up with superstars Latifa and Hisham Selim who are starring in this Ramadan’s series, Kelmet Ser (Password), to find out more about their new show and each of their success stories.

A talented singer since the age of five, Tunisian superstar Latifa has been in the music industry for over thirty years.  With a master’s degree in music and growing up listening to a whole range of – music, classical, eastern, French, English, German, and even Iranian- her life revolves around what she does best, singing.  Having worked with the biggest names in the industry, Baleegh Hamdy, Sayed Mekkawy, Kathem Al Saher, to name a few, Latifa is a living musical legend with quite a unique experience and over twenty successful music albums.

In 2004, Latifa won the World Music Award for her hit song Matrosh Be’eed (Don’t Go Far), which caused a huge stir in the Arab world.  Latifa recalls, “Matrosh Be’eed was a different take on Middle Eastern tunes.  I always try to be different.  People expect that from me, to build on the experience I have gained.  People wait for something unique from my end, which is why I always incorporate something new whether it’s in my acting or my music.”  Latifa’s latest album, Ahla Haga Feya (The Best Thing About Me) was released in 2014 and she is currently working on Kelmet Ser’s music album.  “After that,” she says, I have a huge surprise single planned for my audience.”

Determined and independent, the superstar believes in hard work. “Being dedicated to your work helps you grow and become successful,” she advises.  Through the years of her musical career, Latifa acquired a huge fan base and gained valuable experience and wisdom along the way.  Whether they want to sing or act, Latifa advises young people who want to be part of show business to study the profession they want to pursue.  She insists that, “in today’s world you have to study acting if you want to be an actor, and study music if you want to be part of the music industry.  Just like a doctor cannot be one without a medical degree, it’s the same in the entertainment industry.  The more experience you gain, the more you will learn; but the first key is to study.  She adds, “the more effort you give, the more appreciation you receive.  But if you want to be part of the world of entertainment just to make money, you will fail.”

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In cinema, Latifa has worked with one of the most respected figures in Egyptian cinema, DirectorYoussef Chahine.  Latifa starred as Malak in his film, Sokout Ha Nesawar (Silence, We Are Shooting) in 2001.  It was her first role in a musical film and her song, Al Masri (The Egyptian) was one of the highlights of her career.  She went on to act in the TV drama series, Lahathat Harega (Critical Moments) and in the Lebanese play Hakim El Rayan (Sage of Rayan).  Acknowledging that her acting career has been quite minimal up till now, Latifa says that working on a drama series, Kelmet Ser, is a new and exciting experience for her, especially that she stars alongside Hisham Selim.  It’s Latifa’s first starring role in a TV series, while Selim has   been a star on the small screen for over thirty years.

Known for his charm and talent, Selim has been interested in acting since his childhood.  His career began in the early 70’s with his role in Emberatoriet Meem (Empire M) with the legendary Faten Hamama.  This was followed by the film, Tazwir Fi Awrak Rasmeya (Falsifying Documents), which was followed by  countless other films.  Throughout the years, Selim worked with Egypt’s most important actors, directors, and producers.  He believes that, “to be moving forward and to succeed, we need to work with those experienced in the field.”  Selim adds that, “actors, producers, and directors must all coordinate together, and the actor needs to learn and to study in order to give his best performance.”  When asked about his favorite role in the many films and TV series he’s acted in, he quickly responds, “My roles in Zel Al-Mohareb (Shadow of the Fighter) and Darb El Tayeb (The Way of the Kind). They were very unique roles.”

With his many years of experience under his belt, Selim has seen it all and learnt a lot.  He advises that, “you have to love what you do, do what you love, and gain experience from it.”  He adds that actors need to work hard and earn their success.  They need to feel that they’ve earned it, adding, “They should act because they enjoy it, not because of anything else.”

Having been in show business for a long time, Selim has a huge fan base.  Consequently his personal life is less private than it was earlier in his career.  He admits, “I don’t go out as often as I used to.  When I’m out with my daughters people ask to take pictures with me.  So my privacy is very limited.  But of course, there are positives; it’s flattering to know that fans like me and recognize Hisham Selim.”

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This Ramadan, Selim continues his role in the resurrected classic TV series, Layali El Helmeya 6 (Helmeya Nights) while also starring in Kelmet Ser.  He is happy with his role in Kelmet Ser, which , he says, differs completely from any role he’s played before, adding, “working with Latifa feels good.”  In turn, when we asked Latifa what it was like working with Selim, her answer was, “he is a man of class and talent.”

The announcement that these two stars are acting together for the first time in this new drama series has already created quite a stir.  Although we haven’t watched Kelmet Ser yet, from what we’ve gleaned of the story, we’re already on the edge of our seats.  All that we know is that the plot revolves around Rahma (Latifa) who is always constantly  accused by her ever doubting husband, Adam (Selim).  This lack of trust in their marriage leads to an interesting turn of events.  We can’t wait to see what happens to this couple in Kelmet Ser, but we expect it  to take the small screen by storm.

Whatever happens to the couple in the drama, fans are already thrilled at the idea of the collaboration between these two super talented stars.  Watching Hisham Selim is always a delight and Latifa has already promised she would be back to the screen next year.  Happy viewing everyone!

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