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Saudi Comic Con from a Teen POV


By all accounts, the first ever Saudi Comic Con was a roaring success. The event was held over 3 days as part of an entertainment initiative by the Saudi General Authority for Entertainment, and according to the Arab News the event received a total of 20,000 visitors.

scc-5For some background and reviews of the Comic Convention, you can always do a quick web search. However Jeddah Blog decided to give you a different perspective. A teenage one.

Jeddah Blog spoke to 4 young teenagers, Musab Ali (13 years), Omar Dada (14 years), Ramis Faisal (14 years) and Hassan Khatri (14 years) who attended Saudi Comic Con on Day 1 and we asked them what they thought of the event.

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From the left: Musab, Darth Vader, Ramis and Hassan.

According to Musab: “This was the best thing to happen in Saudi Arabia. The queue was long, but it was fast-moving. It looked small from the outside, but it was very big once we entered. There were lots of hi-tech gaming consoles, XBox One, computers and PS4s on every corner for people to play on. There was also a comedy show in the evening in Arabic.”

Musab went on to say, “Lots of people were dressed up in costumes. The Joker was clearly the most popular choice. Although we were given free drinks, which was great, there wasn’t a lot of variety of food to purchase, only snacks. Also, there wasn’t enough place to sit if we wanted to take a break. However, there was a VIP lounge for people who had VIP bands.”

When asked about his favourite part of Comic Con Musab said, “The best part was the fighting scene on stage between Thor, Loki, Iron Man, Ant Man and Captain America. The life size Transformer was amazing too.”

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Ramis summarised the show saying, “I think it was a great experience, a large crowd, and very organised with a variety of stuff to do from trying out new games to buying exclusive merchandise. There were a lot of stalls and a show outside.”

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The Boys: [L to R]  Hassan, Ramis, Musab and Omar.

“I thought Comic Con was an amazing experience,” enthused Omar. “It was very organised and full of people and many games to try out, as well as many events. There were also many stalls full of interesting merchandise.” 

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Hassan getting some sage advice from Yoda.

Hassan was pleasantly surprised by the event. “The long-awaited Comic Con finally arrived in Jeddah. People were a little apprehensive and didn’t expect much for a first time in Saudi Arabia, but that wasn’t the case. There were lots of international companies selling merchandise that is pretty hard to find in Saudi Arabia or even in the Middle East.”

However, Hassan was disappointed not being able to attend the meet and greet with celebrities: “Unfortunately, not everyone had the chance to meet the guests as it was very expensive”.

Overall, it seems that the show was a great hit with teens as well as older attendees. The show, games and merchandise were of particular interest to this young group. Definitely a step in the right direction for Saudi entertainment and we can’t wait to see what they come up with next.

Photo Credits: Hassan Khatri and Ramis Faisal

Interview with Faran Tahir: Pakistani-American Muslim in Hollywood


Best known for his role as Raza in Iron Man and Captain Robau in Star Trek, Pakistani-American actor Faran Tahir talks exclusively to Anousha Vakani for Jeddah Blog about his career, his upcoming works and his recent acting workshop conducted right here in Jeddah.

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Faran speaks to Jeddah Blog

Faran Tahir comes from a family of actors and writers, so we asked him what it was like growing up around artists and to what degree that influenced his decision to get into the acting field: “Your environment can of course have a significant influence on who you are, although no one in my family pushed me to pursue this as my career, on some level, I always knew that this is what I wanted to do.” His father, Naeem Tahir, an actor, scholar and dramatist also appeared in the immensely popular Pakistani movie Khuda Ke Liye. In a 2013 interview with Geek Mom, Faran Tahir explains that he loves stories; whether he’s reading them, attempting to write them or bringing them alive onscreen, as it has been a part of him and his family for decades.

Faran Tahir as Raza in Iron Man

Faran Tahir as Raza in Iron Man

Faran Tahir has appeared on stage, alongside drama and films. He has acted in episodes of Law and Order, The West Wing, Charmed and Grey’s Anatomy to name a few. His films include Picture Perfect, Elysium and Escape Plan. When asked which the better experience was, he replied, “To me, it depends what story we are trying to tell. Different stories require different mediums.” He adds that he doesn’t have a favourite role as, “The way I see it is that one should always give everything one has got to every role otherwise you are doing that character a disservice.”

Faran Tahir as Captain Robau in Star Trek

As Captain Robau in Star Trek

The actor also admits that he is careful when choosing roles that may represent religion in a negative light, he goes on to say that while there are challenges to being a Pakistani Muslim in Hollywood, “There are times when one wants to not be labeled as anything but just ‘actor’. However, things are changing. There are better and more layered roles. Part of it is because we are increasing in numbers and because the market has become more global.”

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Faran in “Escape Plan” with heavyweight icons of action Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger

We asked him about his latest venture Flight World War II opening in cinemas tomorrow, “It’s a science fiction movie. I play a pilot of a commercial airline. We take off from Washington DC for London and are hit by a freak lightening storm which throws us back in the past. The passengers and crew then discover that we are now flying over Nazi Germany during World War II. It is my job to bring the passengers and my crew home safely.”

The trailer for Flight World War II can be viewed below.

About other future projects, “I just did a CBS pilot for the series Super Girl. If that goes to series I might have a recurring role on that. I am starting a movie late summer called The 11th, and later this year, I will go play the title role of Othello in Shakespeare’s Othello.”

Jeddah was great. It has a wonderful artistic pulse. I would love to return if I am invited again.

Faran conducts acting workshops on and off, and he recently conducted a workshop in Jeddah on the invitation of the US consulate, “It is my way of connecting with other artists. It is important that we share our knowledge and experience. Jeddah was great. It has a wonderful artistic pulse. I would love to return if I am invited again.” Stay tuned for the release of Flight World War II on the 2nd of June, which, judging by the trailer, is going to be a thrilling ride.

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