“Malik Al Halaba”, the second feature from Mohammed Saeed Harib, releases across Saudi cinemas on June 1

“Malik Al Halaba”, the second feature from  Mohammed Saeed Harib, releases across Saudi cinemas on June 1

“Malik Al Halaba”, the latest Arabic-language feature film by Emirati director Mohammed Saeed Harib and co-produced by MBC STUDIOS, Image Nation Abu Dhabi, and VOX Cinemas, will be released in Saudi cinemas on  June 1 2023.

Marking Harib’s second cinematic venture, “Malik Al Halaba” stars Saudi actor Yasin Ghazzawi in the lead role, alongside Mohamed Lotfy, Shadi Alfons, Hakeem Jomah, Salma Abu-Deif, Mahira Abdelaziz, and Faisal Al-Kurdi. The film is written by Sarah Olayan and Richard Galazka.

The film’s premiere will take place on May 29 at VOX Cinemas Riyadh Front with the cast and crew in attendance.


In this hilarious, heart-warming tale that captures the essence of following one’s dreams – no matter their size – “Malik Al Halaba” tells the story of Musaab (Ghazzawi), a “loveable dreamer”, with big hopes, a big heart, and an even bigger belly. Despite his physical appearance, Musaab longs to become a wrestling champion and serve as an inspiration for kids like him.

When he gets the opportunity to get in the ring with a professional wrestler, Mussab sees it as a golden chance to finally earn the admiration of his family. However, his mother’s primary concern revolves around finding him a suitable wife and coaxing him out of their family home. Musaab embarks on a rigorous training regime under the watchful eye of Ali, a former wrestler from Egypt who has transformed into a grumpy but well-meaning coach. Ali’s children also lend their support to Musaab, recognising his inherent goodness despite their father’s penchant for shouting.

As the big fight draws near, Musaab begins to understand the importance of responsibility and unwavering dedication. However, he remains oblivious to the surprising twist awaiting him. This is wrestling after all, a mix of sports and entertainment where unexpected twists and turns are all part of the fun.


Describing the film, Harib commented: “The film delves into the struggle individuals face when striving to reach their higher ideals. Sometimes, the core issue lies in the individual setting unrealistic or unattainable goals, which ultimately leads to their own downfall. These conflicts are universal, and we all learn to navigate the delicate balance between our dreams and the realities we face.”

He continued: “Our protagonist embarks on a transformative journey, attempting to transform every aspect of his life, including his physical appearance, career, and social standing. However, he soon discovers that his greatest adversary resides within himself.

“’Malik Al Halaba’ is a visually stunning and intellectually captivating film that exudes a harmonious fusion of Saudi and Egyptian talents, presented in an Emirati format. The film showcases a remarkable collaboration with love permeating throughout the narrative, making it one of the finest productions in the comedy-action genre. It carries a beautiful story and conveys a noble message.”


The release of “Malik Al Halaba” marks the cinematic debut of Ghazzawi, who revealed he thoroughly enjoyed the experience of playing Mussab.

“Mussab is a young man who lacks the respect of others and faces obstacles in every aspect of his life. He encounters conflicts at work and home, in addition to his disagreement with his family. All of these challenges leave him feeling bewildered and uncertain,” he said. “However, his path takes a transformative turn when he discovers the world of wrestling, a lifelong dream of his. Through his journey in wrestling, he rediscovers his self-worth and earns the respect of others as he evolves into the strong and accomplished individual he aspires to become.”

Ghazzawi added: “The film conveys a powerful message to our youth, emphasising that nothing is impossible when one believes in oneself and remains confident in their aspirations. It reminds us that the opinions and criticisms of others should never sway our choices as we create a fulfilling life that aligns with our passions.”


Egyptian actor Alfons plays Tamer, the son of the owner of the club where Mussab trains. His character is compelled to take up wrestling due to it being in the family for generations.

Speaking of how he performed his own wrestling scenes without a stunt double, Alfons said: “I dedicated myself to learning wrestling specifically for this role. I firmly believe that the film has the potential to captivate a wide audience, because its story strikes a chord with countless individuals who yearn to achieve their dreams but often succumb to family obligations, societal pressures, or various external factors.

“However, the real struggle often lies within the individual, pitting their own aspirations against self-doubt and internal conflicts.”


For Lotfy, the release of “Malik Al Halaba” marks an important milestone for Arab cinema.

“The film distinguishes itself with its high production value, rivalling that of Hollywood films in my opinion,” he said. “What’s more, its creative direction is truly remarkable. I firmly believe that Mohammed Saeed Harib will emerge as one of Arab cinema’s most prominent directors.”

He added: “The young Saudi talents showcased in the film are truly exceptional, particularly Yasin, who flawlessly portrays the character of Musaab. Undoubtedly, the director plays a pivotal role in highlighting and nurturing these talents. As for my character, I take on the role of Ali, the trainer who not only guides Musaab in his physical wrestling training but also shapes his character in other profound ways.”


Lastly, Abu Deif describes her role as one she has never experimented with before. Playing Salma – Ali’s daughter – she explained: “This cinematic experience, which brings together Saudi, Egyptian, and Emirati elements, is truly unique and distinctive. I have full confidence that it will captivate the viewers.”

She continued: “In the film, my character Salma possesses a master’s degree in martial arts. However, due to familial circumstances, she is unable to pursue it as a profession, despite her unwavering passion for the sport.

“I dedicated myself to learning Muay Thai specifically for this film, and I developed a genuine love for this combat sport to such an extent that I made the decision to continue training even after the completion of filming. I commend the collaboration with the Saudi actors and Mohammed Saeed Harib, and I believe that the film will achieve success, not only in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, but also across the Arab world, as it encompasses beautiful ideas and exhibits a unique cinematic style.”


“Malik Al Halaba” releases nationwide on June 1 2023.