Tributes have been pouring in for Syrian Bab El Hara director Bassam Al Mulla, who died on Saturday aged 66.
The director’s death was confirmed by the Syrian Ministry of Culture and Syndicate of Artists.
Tamader Ghanem, head of the syndicate, said that Al Mulla had died in the city of Zahle in the Bekaa region in eastern Lebanon and that “work is under way to transport his body and prepare his funeral in Damascus”.
Al Mulla, who was diabetic, died of natural causes, Ghanem said.
Several Syrian talents mourned the director, including Amal Arafa, Kosai Khauli, Shokran Mortga and Sulaf Fawakherji.
“Goodbye to the professor Bassam Al Mulla,” Khauli wrote in a Facebook post. “We belong to God and to Him we shall return."
Syrian Al Hayba actor Taim Hassan also penned a tribute to the director, saying he introduced “the Syrian series to the memory and consciousness of Arabs from the 1980s until his final days of artistic activity”.
Who was Bassam Al Mulla?
Born in 1956, Al Mulla came from an artistic family and began his career as an assistant director in the 1981 series Tajarob Aeliyeh, directed by Aladdin Kokash. He then served as an executive director for a number of works including Byoot fi Mecca, before presenting his first series Al Khashkhash in 1991.
From then on, he released several acclaimed works including the 1992 series Aram Shamiya, Al Khawali and Souk Al Harir. His projects were hailed for their portrayal of social life in Syria.
His most revered work, however, and the one that brought him wider regional fame, was the 2006 series Bab El Hara, which ran until 2017 and starred several Syrian talents including Abbas Al-Noury, Sabah Jazairi and Milad Youssef. The series is set in a neighbourhood in Damascus during the French mandate in the 1930s.
Al Mulla received several awards in recognition for his works, including the Best Director’s Award at the 2006 Arab Radio and Television Festival in Tunisia.
“In a cold and dark day, Syrian drama loses its groom and godfather,” one fan wrote on Twitter, praising the director for introducing details of Damascus life “into every Arab household".
“We loved his works and were attached to them, waiting for each new one.”