Arab Animated Characters Shining at the MENA-ICT 10-10-10
Perhaps the only animated show am willing to enjoy for the rest of my life is the Simpsons, I cannot live a day of my life without Homer the protagonist husband and father, Marge with her obsession of doing the right thing, Barts non-stop mischief, Lisa’s continuous efforts to become something and Maggie’s pacifier that has been pinned to her face for 22 seasons now!
However, I must say that I have a new respect for Arabs when it comes to creating animated characters for TV, especially since the current TV Shows are either Turkish dubbed into Arabic language, or some really lame shows as we seem to have lost passion in producing eye catching Television productions, personal opinion, perhaps some might not agree.
In September of 2006, the first 3D animated series was launched in the Middle East by
Mohammed Saeed Harib, the brain child behind Freej. The show features four old national women living in a secluded neighborhood in Dubai, where Saeed, Um Saloom, Um Allawi and Um Khammas try to live everyday life with all the modern changes happening around them, as the city’s sudden boom unveils while they tackle their own problems in their own simple way, of course always over a cup of coffee at Um Saeed’s house.
The Show reminds me of the Simpsons when it comes to the voices of the cast, if you didn’t know, the voice of Bart Simpson is actually a woman, is voiced by Nancy Cartwright, and a similar approach is shown in Freej, where the voices of all four women are actually men. Um Khamaas who is constantly screaming is played by Salem Jassim, the very kind Um Saloom is played by Abdullah Husain, Um Saeed the poetic and honest character is voiced by Majid Al Falasi and last but not least, Um Allawi, portrayed by Ashjan! I kind of admire the fact that three of the four female characters are portrayed by men! I’m sure what the sublime message is behind men voicing female characters, but I chose to believe that in a Male-Dominated society this is quite a controversial approach with a lot of hidden messages behind it
As a matter of fact I cannot wait to meet Mr. Mohammed Saeed Harib, as he is speaking at the MENA ICT Forum this year, and if there is anything I would like to ask at this point is why he has chosen men to be the voices of women, and if I get an answer, I’ll be letting you lovely readers know about it.
According to the MENA ICT Website, Mr. Harib has “recently directed FREEJ FOLKLORE, the largest Arabic theatrical production in the region. FREEJ FOLKLORE marks a new era in the entertainment industry through Harib’s introduction of innovative approach that combined magnificent art with highly sophisticated technical tools. The show is set to tour the region after the great success it saw in the United Arab Emirates.”
I can’t wait… Can you!?
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