One of the many movies released earlier in August is Mohamed Abdelrahman’s almost first lead in a film. El Batta El Safra was written by the mind behind El Sofara Mohamed Ezzat and directed by Hashtag Gawezny’s Essam Nassar.

The film tells the story of an uptight academic researcher in psychology who primarily aims to do a case study on criminals and previous gang members. Little did he know he would get in more than he bargained for as the bunch involve him in their shenanigans.

The movie stars Masrah Masr’s Touta, granting you a good laugh, but to our surprise, it was his dramatic performance that stole the show! The actor refrained from using any of his usual tactics, like his infamous high-pitched voice, to deliver humour. Instead, he played a socially awkward professor with a weak comedic sense whose personality evolves as events unfold. Worry not; he left the laugh-inducing lines to guest star Ahmed Amin who undoubtedly left a mark with only a few scenes!

We love how Touta didn’t play it safe with his almost first attempt at leading a movie. There’s an emphasis on almost since his actual first-led movie was called El Da3wa 3ama, in which he co-starred with Ahmed El Fishawy. Unfortunately, the movie’s minimal promotion prior to its screening sabotaged its success, although it was a good watch.

El Bata El Safra features several stars who give memorable performances, such as Ghada Adel, who shone more brightly compared to her role in Mar3y El Berimo. As for comedian Mahmoud Hafez, his decision to tone down his over-the-top comedic energy served him well, too. It’s also noteworthy that Hanah El Zahed’s sister, Farah, gave her best performance since El Tawoos.

Last but definitely not least, seeing Salah Abdallah take on a villainous role again like he used to back in his glory days was refreshing! This is especially since he’s been getting regularly cast by directors as the wise elder with one-liners and morale-centred monologues.

Haven’t seen El Batta El Safra? Check it out in theatres for yourself!