Egyptian pop star and actor Tamer Hosny is returning to the big screen after a two-year absence with the release of dark comedy Mesh Ana.
Written by Hosny and directed by Sara Wafiq, the film also features Saudi actor Fayez Al Malki, as well as scenes shot in Riyadh.
While an official release date is yet to be announced, Hosny confirmed on his Instagram on Monday that Mesh Ana "will be out in two weeks".
A serious comedy
With the trailer having amassed more than 10 million views on YouTube, anticipation for Hosny's film is strong. The star was last seen in 2019 action film Al Felos.
In addition to his star power, another reason for the enthusiasm is the seemingly complex subject matter.
A comedy drama, Mesh Ana centres on the fraying mental health of Hassan (played by Hosny) after he wakes up one morning without full control of his limbs and spends the ensuing days physically lashing out at friends, family and members of the public.
Each unprovoked attack is met with the plea “mesh ana", meaning "it’s not me".
As well as the slapstick comedy, the film takes a serious turn when Hassan seeks counselling.
The trailer hints that Mesh Ana will pose questions about how Arab societies deal with mental health.
It also features scenes of friends shrugging off Hassan’s challenges and medical professionals perplexed by his condition.
"I really worked hard in this role and writing a subject matter like this," Hosny said on Instagram.
"Of course, this is a joint effort of all the crew and stars who participated in the work.”
More Egyptian-Saudi film productions
In an interview with ET bil Arabi, director Wafiq, whose last film was 2017's Ala Wadak, described Hosny's role as a career-best performance.
“He worked so hard as the role relies on both his physical and mental intensity,” she said. “This is his best work.”
The film's release will also be a win for the Egyptian film industry, with Mesh Ana one of a number of high-profile productions halted in 2020 as a precaution against the pandemic.
Wafiq also praised Saudi Arabia's General Entertainment Authority for facilitating the Riyadh shoot. She hopes the film will encourage further Egyptian-Saudi productions in the future.
"It was a really great experience and I hope we can do more work there," Wafiq said. "Everything was organised and we felt really comfortable. Hopefully through the scenes shot there with Al Malki, we created some wonderful work the viewers will enjoy."
Along with Al Malki, the supporting cast includes Egyptian stars Hala Shiha, Maged El Kedwany and Sawsan Badr.