Terrorism and Kebab
Terrorism and Kebab is an action comedy that is not very funny, but does make the viewer think. In the movie, Ahmed needs to put his children in a closer school so they can walk a shorter distance to school. To do this, he has to get the transfer papers from the Mogamma-a government building in Cairo, Egypt. In the process of collecting the papers, he has to hop from office to office. Despite the long queues, he has to go to the Mogamma because all the paperwork is done from there. Ahmed has tried on numerous occasion to get services but in vain. This causes his frustration to build up. One worker adopts a strange behaviour of constant prayer as a show of piousness. In reality, it keeps him from having to work. Ahmed begins to argue with this worker. This creates a standoff that stops bureaucratic activities in the monumental building temporarily. Armed security at the scene approach Ahmed for the unruly act and engage him in a fight. But Ahmed manages to seize a gun from one of the officers and accidentally takes the whole building hostage. People perceive him as a terrorist. Later other people, including a prostitute named Hind, join him in the takeover.
Evidently, Ahmed and his compatriots lack knowledge of what they want. They only ask the Interior Minister to provide kebabs for their hostages because according to them, meat is too expensive. It is clear that Ahmed had no official demands when he asks for kebabs for his hostages. According to him, the Egyptian bureaucratic systems were crumbling. Contrarily, the request could be indicative of his kindness and maybe the intentions for his actions. When the officers and some of the hostages observe his hospitality and realise that he is just as frustrated as them, they begin to like him. In his own imagination, people are actually more frustrated with what has been happening but they are gagged to silence and rub it under the carpet. The protagonist helps some of the hostages to get their errands done. They later join hands to correct the bureaucratic error that marred the government offices. The good work done by Ahmed makes him cease being a terrorist, and no death takes places in the film.
The film is both effective and not effective in addressing its mandate. Because it is a comedy, it should amuse more than it educates. It is an action comedy, but most of the scenes were very difficult to understand because they neither amused or thrilled. When the guards haul off Ahmed, they engage in a physical confrontation that should have been funny. But it was not. The drama for holding people hostage does not suffice. It did not work for the film. It lacks practicality because it is hard to believe that the officer who was disarmed by Ahmed was the only one who was armed. Again, this could have been portrayed with humor but it was just confusing. In normal action movies and even comedy movies, it is better to have more realistic actions and self-explaining scenes.
Another fatal error with the film is when Ahmed asks for kebab for the hostages. The film implies it as a punishment to the government for failing in their bureaucratic duties. On the contrary, nothing changes. At the end of the movie, Ahmed fails to get the papers, the mess in the government remains uncorrected, and the lives of characters suck. Anybody would be very willing to see the end. However, the movie does succeed in commentating the modern the Egyptian life.
Ahmed is the protagonist in the play. Most of the action revolves around him. He needs to transfer his children to a closer school and is willing to go to the Mogamma to do so. This shows that he is a caring father. He is patient and persistent. Even though he fails to secure the needed papers, he keeps on coming to this place to get justice. Unfortunately, his efforts do not bear results, and this works him up. He realizes that the Egyptian government is broken through corruption making national bureaucracies to stall. Ahmed is saddened by this and tries to correct it, but the plan does not work out. Ahmed is daring. He has the guts to snatch a gun from the security and use it to threaten people including government officials and holds them hostage for a very long time. He bravely orders the government to provide kebabs for the temporary detainees. This is an indication of his kindness. Even though Ahmed does not succeed in his goals, he does show persistence in a hopeless situation. The action by Ahmed to hold people hostage at the Mogamma is a vivid indication that anybody can potentially become a terrorist in Egypt for various reasons. In that way, Terrorism and Kebab is a successful movie, even if it somewhat flops as an action comedy.