I was introduced to Shankaboot, the first Arabic web drama, through a friend from Haifa University. The show is a huge success in the Arab world and worldwide, I am personally a fan. The show is broadcasted in Arabic with English subtitles allowing the coverage of broader audiences. Shankaboot is produced and funded by Batoota Films, The BBC World Service Trust and The Welded Tandem Picture Company.
Suleiman is the main character, also known as the king of delivery – Shankaboot. His adventure in the reality of Lebanon includes meeting Ruwaida, fleeing the life of abuse and oppression and her dream of freedom and becoming a star. The drama also includes Suleiman’s journey with his best friend Chadi and his dark and ambiguous past. Running away from Beirut with Chadi and Ruwaida, they meet Teta (Grandma in Arabic) and her granddaughter Yara. Suleiman falls in love with Yara but later, worried Teta sends her off to Brazil for a better future. Amongst all the characters, the show also stars Doulica, the migrant worker from Sri Lanka and the humiliating treatment from her employer Mme Najem.
Shankaboot’s most interesting method of delivering its social agenda is not just through its episodes but also through the ‘behind the scene’. An interview with Mme Najem for example about migrant workers in Lebanon is broadcasted in a sarcastic way, criticizing the Arab world and the stereotypes towards foreigners. One of my favorite ‘behind the scene’ is the interview with Teta in the airport in regard to sending away her granddaughter Yara to Brazil, away from her first love and the life she knew. Teta also criticizes Twitter and Facebook in her own special way. Let’s not forget her Portuguese carnival singing and dancing.
The show is a must for the average Israeli revealing the hidden world of the daily life in Lebanon, just a few kilometers away from Israel. It also fits just right with our modern uncommitted lifestyle to television drama.
This post is a cross post from 20:40