Citizen TV's Lulu Hassan and Rashid Abdalla are not your ordinary journalists. They are exceptional and multi-talented.
Apart from hosting a sensational and unique news show, the power couple has long-held and satisfied the needs of soap opera-loving Kenyans through their various Swahili programs aired on different stations.
They are the faces behind Maza, Aziza and Moyo which gripped the hearts of many, and their new show Maria, in partnership with Royal Media Services has followed suit. On Tuesday, October 22, in an exclusive interview with Kenyans.co.ke, Ms Hassan disclosed the idea behind the TV series and how they knew it would be a blockbuster.
The program features Maria (a girl) as a humble, uneducated, teenage dreamer. She lives with her godmother, Auntie Naomi, in one of the slums in Nairobi.
"If you look at the response on our shows, what stands out is how different we are from other production companies. We heavily invest in our stories.
"We write our story treatments in detail then we break them. We also go for cliffhangers to make Kenyans yearn for more," Hassan passionately elaborated.
According to the zealous anchor, Maria was destined to be different from all their other shows, in that, they explored and experimented with new ideas.
"Maria is different from what we have worked on as 98 per cent of the cast has never appeared on-screen and they are new people with little known details. The actors have never acted nor did they ever dream that they can act," Ms Hassan informed.
She went to explain the reason they decided to pick a totally less known cast.
"We wanted to uplift actors and we decided to pump new blood in the new show. There are very many talented people out there. Kenyans were used to the veteran talented faces and even if you gave them new roles, no one would notice the change we wanted.
"Like Maria's role, we had the liberty to look out for a very beautiful girl and impose the village shrewdness in her, by mingling her with dirt to bring out her exquisite personality. However, we decided against it and conducted various auditions within different locations in Nairobi. To our surprise, a lot of people turned out and it was a success," the news anchor enthusiastically spoke.
However, for her, all the success would not be possible without her husband Abdalla who calls the shots, especially in scriptwriting.
"We have a group of writers but Rashid spearheads everything. He is very creative, intelligent and wise. I head the technical team and together we ensure that everything is near perfect," Hassan lauded.
She also appreciated Royal Media Services (Citizen TV) for partnering with them in the production of the show.
Video: An excerpt of Maria, courtesy of Lulu Hassan/Instagram.
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