The series outlines Saudi criminal Rashash’s life of crime, beginning with his entry into the underworld, and ending with his arrest.
MBC Group is bringing an adaptation of the true story of a notorious criminal from the 80s in Saudi Arabia – a first for GCC media production — to its streaming platform Shahid. Launching on July 9, 2021, Rashash is a brand-new Shahid Original drama series exclusively available on its VIP service.
Rashash is the brainchild of British television screenwriter, Tony Jordan – creator of the primetime Emmy and BAFTA-winning series Hustle. Directed by British filmmaker Collin Teague (The Last Drop, Holby City).
As part of Shahid and MBC Group’s mission to foster, mentor and promote upcoming talent from the Kingdom, Rashash features an all-Saudi cast in leading roles including Yagoub Al-Farhan (Rashash), Naif Al-Daferi (Fahd), Khalid Yeslam (Chief Azam), Fayez Bin Jurais (Omar), Hakeem Jomah (Sultan), Abdullah Al Barrak (Mahal), Ibrahem AL-Hajjaj (Qahas), Ayman Mutahar (Musleh), and Sumaya Rida (Aida).
The eight-part series is in the Saudi dialect of Arabic accompanied by English subtitles. One 55-minute episode will be released every week.
Distinguished by its production value, Rashash is a collaboration between the internationally recognised crew and Saudi talent. Alongside Jordan and Teague is Director of Photography, Luke Bryant (I Hate Suzie) who supervised shots including three full days of helicopter scenes. Production equipment includes the Russian Arm Dynamic, Phantom high-speed cameras, drones, and Steadicams.
Additionally, Rashash features over 24 stunts, choreographed by stunt director, Kaloyan Vodenicharov (Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation).
Music for the series was created by the renowned France-based composer, Amin Bou Haifa.
During the filming of Rashash, MBC Studios received production support from twofour54 Abu Dhabi.
Yagoub Al-Farhan said: “Rashash seems to justify any crime he commits; for it seems his motto is: ‘you have to be a wolf, otherwise the other wolves will eat you’.”
Al-Farhan details how he first portrays Rashash prior to engaging in a life of crime, stating: “Having lost his father during his childhood, Rashash grew up suffering many financial hardships while his mother did her best to raise him to become a respectable young man. The older he becomes, the more of a conflict he feels deep inside him; he begins to believe that he is better than the place he is growing up in and that he is not fulfilling his full potential. He also realises he has developed the charm and charisma to easily influence others. Soon, he begins to justify the path of evil that he takes… His own philosophy is that he has the right to reach his goals no matter the cost. In the moments of weakness or defeats, we see him rise to confront those who have stood in his way. He believes that the world is a forest – you have to be a wolf, otherwise, the other wolves will eat you. I am looking forward to audiences discovering the character and following the series of events with his gang.”
Naif Al-Daferi outlined that: “This type of fast-paced action and drama is a genre that hasn’t been previously showcased in Saudi series – especially a production of this magnitude. I also really wanted to work with Yagoub Al-Farhan. The work will truly live up to the expectations of the Saudi public. Every era has its own character, and many people have nostalgia for the 80s, in all its details, and colours, and features. Here, we’re presenting this alongside portraying one of the most dangerous criminals known in the Kingdom at that time. My character Fahad is a young man who seeks to convince his father that he is up to the responsibility of joining the forces, so he does so to excel in his career. As well as ambitious, he is also stubborn – not only does he want to achieve justice, but he also wants to avenge his friend and colleague who died at the hands of Rashash and his gang.”
Khaled Yeslam: “Chief Azzam is a strict yet rational person whose mission is to arrest those doing wrong.” For Yeslam’s part, Chief Azzam is a no-nonsense character. “He is a military man of the first degree, having spent many years in service. And he is strict yet rational – so, he is very disciplined and not impulsive like other young men in the service. His role is to enforce the law. Azzam’s most important goal is to arrest criminals, so we see that in many situations he is unable to show his emotions.”
Fayez Bin Jurais: “Omar is the most innocent character of them all – one moment with Rashash changes his life forever. Omar is a dreamer, an ambitious individual who seeks success in the fields of poetry and literature. He is quiet, close to his parents, and does not like any trouble. However, his life changes when Rashash introduces him to a very different world one day. It was actually very challenging to play this character because I almost coexisted with his thoughts and mental state throughout shooting days, which could last for about 13 hours. It reached a point that I began to speak to those around me as if I really were Omar!”
Ayman Mutahar: “Musleh is a violent character, and his goals are very ambiguous.” Rashash marks the first acting experience for Mutahar. Describing his character, he said: “Musleh presents a calm exterior, but he is also shrouded in mystery. The gang relies on him to carry out dangerous missions that require bold decisions. Musleh is a violent character, and his goals are very ambiguous and murky. He somehow achieves pleasure in carrying out violent and inhumane acts; oddly enough, that’s perhaps his main point of contention with the rest of the gang.”
Ibrahem Al-Hajjaj: “Qahas is a character full of evil, and the one with the worst decisions to make.” Al-Hajjaj describes Qahas as a “strong and scary man.”
Hakeem Jomah: “Sultan is the youngest and least aware of consequences.”
“Sultan has a very strong relationship with his brother, and so he gives up his studies and family for his brother’s sake, taking him as a role model,” Jomah explained. “He is exploited later due to his love of life and money. During the series, audiences will follow the clashes between Sultan and the rest of the gang, including Rashash personally. In addition to being distrustful of others in general, Sultan is always suspicious of Rashash’s decisions.”
Abdullah Al-Barrak: “Mahal loves money and power… and takes advantage of the weaknesses of others.”
Al-Barrak describes his character, Mahal, as one who is continuously challenging the decisions of Rashash and the rest of the gang.