When Citizen TV's power couple, Rashid Abdalla and Lulu Hassan embarked on scripting and producing Maria, they had a feeling that it would be a blockbuster. However, not many had anticipated that it would be a game-changer in Kenya's film industry.
The series features Maria (a girl) as a humble, uneducated, teenage dreamer. She lives with her godmother, Auntie Naomi, in one of the slums in Nairobi.
The show is unique, from its production to timing, and how fans embraced, loved and became addicted to it, reciting the actor's lines word for word.
"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," Lulu Hassan exclusively informed Kenyans.co.ke on October 22, 2019.
The show was birthed after new ideas were explored and experimented by the couple. They decided to inject fresh blood like Yasmin Said (Maria), Ronald Ndubi (Victor Hausa) and blended them with experienced actors such as Bridget Shighadhi (Sofia) and Brian Ogana (Luwi).
The show's timing is also impeccable. On Monday, September 30, Citizen TV announced a major change in its Monday-Friday programming from 5.00 pm to 8.00 pm. Popular shows Inspekta Mwala (Monday), Tahidi High (Tuesday), and Papa Shirandula (Thursday), which used to air at 7.30 pm were switched to 6.30 pm, as Maria took up the new 7.30 pm slot from Monday to Friday.
The actors themselves are humble, outgoing, and passionate to their calling.
“Eleven years I've been praying, believing and trusting God to be a successful actor. Since 2008, I have gone to over 1,000 auditions, this is my breakthrough," Ronald Ndubi (Victor) stated in December 2019.
"For now, I love what I am doing. At a point, I feel like I will pursue it further. I want to use this opportunity to scale heights and to have other doors open for me in the film industry. The name Maria might also stick with me as most people love it, especially the kids. They get buoyed up whenever they see me," Yasmin Said (Maria) informed Kenyans.co.ke on Wednesday, December 4.
True to her words, fans love it and created social media groups on Facebook and Whatsapp to share commentary about the show.
There exists a total of over 50 Facebook groups and a similar number of WhatsApp groups about Maria.
In the groups, the fans follow and review the episodes, discuss the show, analyse the characters and even bet on how the plot will end.
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