Last week as we counted down the days to Eid, cinemas all around the country started putting up the season’s programming.
Among the scheduled was Ahmed Helmy’s Khayal Ma’ataa, highly anticipated after the actor’s three-year absence from the scene. Only we’re pretty sure he didn’t expect the criticism the movie got from the public, eventually making it drop in the box office.
He might have not expected a public scandal either, because neither did we.
So, What Happened?
Writer Nihal Samaha is of no little fame. She wrote for several sitcoms, like El-Bab Fil Bab, El-Beyout Asrar, Heba Regl El-Ghorab, to name a few.
The screenwriter recently took to Facebook to reveal how her film was stolen. Not by Helmy but by his wife, actress Mona Zaki.
In her post, Samaha stresses on her meeting with Zaki, citing specific dates to strengthen her story.
She goes on to mention that the movie wasn’t lifted word for word, per say. It might have actually been better executed than her own script.
However, the original concept is the same. Details like the characters, their backgrounds, plot lines, and even some scenes are copied entirely.
Interestingly, Samaha says that upon meeting Zaki last year, the writer gave her two scripts, one of which was the allegedly stolen movie’s script.
She then waited for a reply that never came, so she moved on. Instead of that being a turned page, though, Samaha was shocked to see her idea on display in a trailer for a Helmy Eid movie.
Should We Believe Samaha Or Not?
Picking a side is tricky here.
We can choose to believe Samaha is telling the truth, which many do because she already has a cemented reputation as a screenwriter. However, we’d be facing a bigger problem than the tearing down of a few false idols.
The problem is the basic disrespect for intellectual property by people who think they’re above it all. Especially when this property belongs to someone just starting their career, which Samaha was at the time of writing that script.
We can also choose to not believe her, though it would be a terrible dismissal that some are already doing.
Those belonging to that camp don’t believe Samaha’s story because of screenwriter Abdelrahim Kamal and his involvement with the movie. A genius like that, people argue, wouldn’t agree to be a part of something clearly immoral.
This, of course, doesn’t wholly cancel out the probability that Kamal was simply told the concept like a free-for-all idea to be reworked into something different.
Others simply don’t believe Ahmed Helmy would agree to work with a stolen script. One person even said that Helmy had been working on Khayal Ma’ataa for more than 4 years.
Although we are yet to receive official statements from either Helmy or Zaki, we can base a portion of our opinion off the few facts we have available.