"Remake" or reproduction is a widespread phenomenon in the Western and Arab entertainment industry, often to exploit the success of an old work and breathe new life into it, and at other times the idea itself is still fresh or can be reprocessed, but from a new angle or by adding touches Depending on the changes of time.
And in Ramadan 2023, the Egyptian series “Diary of a Husband” was shown, directed by Tamer Nadi and written by Muhammad Suleiman Abdel-Malik, based on the book of the late Ahmed Bahgat with the same name, starring Tariq Lotfi and Aisha bin Ahmed. Al-Hamid, directed by Hassan Bashir, and the screenplay was written by Ahmed Bahgat himself.
The drama of oppressed couples
As it appears from the title, the events of "Diary of a Husband" in both versions revolve around a middle-aged man who wakes up to a terrifying nightmare, but discovers that his boring life is more terrifying. But it is an empty life, he does not belong to any of the above, and the story begins when the hero decides to become an actor.
The series, which depicts Cairo at the beginning of the nineties of the last century, reviews a social class that has disappeared over the next few years, the well-off class of government employees, but at the same time they do not have more than their daily food and what they raise their children well.
In this version, Raouf is subjected to the oppression of his boss at work, the undersecretary who is jealous of the success of any of his employees, and the pressure of his daughter's school principal, who forces parents to pay donations despite the free education.
He also suffers from the problems of his wife, who left work only to control the course of the lives of all her family members, including her husband, as well as from the pressure of living expenses and the lack of food supplies, and the pressure of the entire society that is moving towards a more capitalist world.
On the other hand, Tariq Lutfi's version focused more on Raouf's problem with his wife, who placed him on the sidelines of her life. For her, he is only part of a larger system that has her work, her father, her children, and her friends.
Raouf Tariq Lutfi wants to break this routine and regain his sense of himself as an active man in the life of those around him, rebuilding his relationships with others, whether his children or his wife, and rebelling against these rules, so the other aspects that she was blessed with in Mahmoud Yassin's version were absent from the character.
Despite the economic changes that have occurred in the hero's social class during the past few years, which certainly put pressure on any man going through his age, the series decided to ignore these aspects, put them on the fence, and make the hero's emotional life the most important factor driving events.
The title of each of the two series is “Diary of a Husband”, that is, it is not a memoir of a man in general, and thus the point of view through which light is shed on the character here as a husband, and in this case it is logical to also focus on the factor that turns this “man” into a “husband”. That is, the wife, but in both series, attention was not paid to building the wife's personality sufficiently.
In both cases, we have a type of woman befitting the era in which the events take place. Sherine, the nineties, a woman who left her job in order to take care of her small family. A controlling and organized wife who is keen to ensure that every detail of the life of those around her goes with military discipline. She only appears on the screen to give advice or orders.
Shereen, the new millennium, is a working woman and a manager in a private company, known for her extreme strictness with her employees. She runs the house and the company with iron and fire, and judges others according to her moral and social standards. For example, she refuses her father’s remarriage years after the mother’s death, for fear of the opinion of others as well as Fearing for her share of the inheritance.
Both versions of the series "Diary of a Husband" presented a pattern of the distressed, dominant wife only, without linking that to some of what could be considered as the causes of this "stress", such as community pressure, the constant pursuit of building the "ideal family", or other factors influencing the wife's behavior. in her home and her relationship with those around her.
In comparison between the two versions, we find that the first is more realistic and did not flatten the husband’s personality, so it maintained its balance between anger, despair, and mockery of reality, while the newer version made the husband a victim along the line, and Tariq Lutfi’s excessively tender performance may sometimes bring the viewer’s sympathy, but makes him lose the ability To communicate with the spectator other times and turns like a wife into a mere caricature pattern.