Hani Sarhan

Egyptian Television’s Sizzling Screenwriter

Amidst the yearly frenzy of Ramadan TV series, with the endless drive to create unforgettable shows, the talented young screenwriter, Hani Sarhan, has made a name for himself in recent years, with such action dramas like El Fetewa (The Ruffian) and Lams Aktaf (Pinfall). He is already gaining further acclaim for the hit show El Ekhteyar 2 (The Choice 2) that is screening this Ramadan season. eniGma’s Hager Alazab spoke with the screenwriter to find out more about his career path in creative storytelling.

Hani Sarhan studied business at university, then pivoted to screenwriting in 2010 after joining one of Tamer Habib’s writing workshops. “Tamer Habib confirmed to me that I had what it took to work as a screenwriter. That’s when I decided that this was the career path for me,” he recalls.

In reality, Sarhan’s journey in writing started long before his professional interest in the field. From a young age, he had a passion for writing his own stories and creating his own twist on real life situations. “I always daydreamed and imagined so many scenarios. When I heard a random story, I could always come up with an ending for it in my head,” he exclaims. Since entering the field professionally, Sarhan has worked on some of the most popular Ramadan series directed by prominent directors, like Peter Mimi and Hussein El Menbawy.

After successfully collaborating with Sarhan on Al Ab El-Rohy (The Godfather) in 2017, Mimi decided to turn to Sarhan to write the second season of his series El Ekhteyar, which was a big hit last Ramadan. An ardent fan of the series himself, Sarhan was delighted to accept this mission. “The first season deserved the success and recognition it got. I really loved it when I watched it last year,” he recalls.

Starring Karim Abdelaziz alongside Ahmed Mekky, El Ekhteyar 2, is currently airing during Ramadan and Sarhan is hotly awaiting the audience’s final assessment once they see the whole series. “I am excited that people are watching the show and seeing what I helped create. I worked on this for nine months with so many talented crew members, and I can’t wait for the audience’s feedback,” says Sarhan, adding that working on El Ekhteyar 2 was as challenging as it was exciting. “It’s based on reality, so it had to be studied and researched properly before execution. The characters are based on real life people, which meant we had to meet the families of martyrs. There also had to be an accurate documentation of major events,” says the writer, adding, “This year’s season of El Ekhteyar is full of twists and surprises. It serves as a mirror to reality in a way that is completely unprecedented.”

With an obvious passion for the work he does, Sarhan reveals that his drive is what keeps him going despite the obvious challenges that any young screenwriter faces. He says that his urge to write and to continuously create new stories stems from his desire to convey a beneficial message to a mass audience. “Having a point of view or a new perspective to put out to the world is what makes me want to work on any new project,” he adds, citing his previous work, Lams Aktaf, as an example where his screenplay communicated a message about a serious issue to the show’s audience. “What excited me the most about working on this show was the idea of discussing drug use in Egypt. There are many real-life examples similar to the characters in the show,” he explains.

After establishing his writing credentials in TV series over the past few years, Sarhan has decided to delve into the world of motion pictures in the period ahead. “I am currently working on two movies, after having always written for TV series.” he reveals. Sarhan hints that his interests lie in social dramas, romantic comedies and science fiction movies, but keeps the details of his upcoming films under wraps. His hopes for the future are to collaborate with eminent movie directors such as Marwan Hamed, Mohamed Yassin and none other than the renowned Guy Ritchie. Stay tuned!

 

Featured Image Photography: Ahmed Hayman