Successful women who break all the norms of society to light up new pathways for future generations are an inspiration to developing countries. Real estate, finance, and banking are a few of the sectors of middle eastern society where women are found expanding their wings. But is it as peaceful as it seems, or are there pioneers who laid the first stone for females to be self-reliant and headstrong? Shot in and around Kuwait, “The Exchange” will depict the complexities of human emotions, ground-breaking topics, and work-life challenges in a conservative culture, as said by one of the crew members.
‘The Exchange’ Cast And Crew
Netflix uploaded its first original series from Kuwait titled “The Exchange” on February 8, 2023, based on true events. Set back in 1987; the six-episode series revolves around two smart women, Rawan Mahdi (Farida) and Mona Hussain (Munira), thriving hard to achieve their dreams in cutthroat investment marketing while being confined under a male-dominated production. Written by Nadia Ahmad, Anne Sobel, and Adam Sobel, the star-studded web series has been helmed by Jasem AlMuhanna and Karim El Shenawy. The genius rollercoaster is a celebration of love, a product of years of cooperation and sheer determination 1980s to develop a realistic image of woman empowerment, inequality, and conquest. The series stars the Canadian actor Michael Benyaer (as Saud) alongside Sean Rohani (as Hassan) and Kamran Nikhad (as Waleed). The cast also includes Marissa Lenti, Mohammed Al-Mansour, Marwan Salama, Ryan Shrime, Jasem Alnabhan, Dorah Fine, and Maryam Alsalih, along with Zahra Alkharji, Maryam Salih, Abdullah Bahman, Asmahan Tawfiq, Kerr Lordygan, and so on. Abdullah AlNouri is the unit production manager, while Neal Allen has produced the show in association with Netflix and Beyond Dreams.
Rawan Mahdi As Farida
Farida is one of the leads of “The Exchange,” who portrays a very strong, efficient, and bold woman working for the stock market and placed as a clerk in a renowned bank in Kuwait. The first scene opens with Farida waiting outside the courtroom to get her divorce papers signed and approved by the authorities. After being separated from her husband Omar, she starts living in her parent’s house with her daughter Jood. Not only that, but she is also liable to take on all the responsibilities on her own. The character of Farida is absolutely stunning, well-organized, groomed, best with the dress sense, soft spoken, and quite a sensible woman. This determined lady steps into the kleptocratic, chauvinistic world but doesn’t let her goals be affected by the men in the stock exchange industry. In the politicized era of motherhood, Farida tries her best to provide all the comfort she can to her daughter; through every scene, her unconditional love and generosity are as clear as crystal. For the best, she wants Jude to be readmitted to a top-class British school from a public institution. But between prioritizing careers and living at home, all her schedules, including her suppertime choices, are scrutinized. The first few days at the workplace were quite challenging, as she didn’t get any support, not just from the male coworkers but from her cousin as well. She has to confront unwanted breakthroughs and constant staring from creepy staff, being teased with astoundingly stupid comments about the female mindset, and definitely the gender-discriminatory treatment she is receiving each day. Her family, especially her father, seems supportive of her being independent. She is utterly responsible, as she didn’t forget to order lilies for her grandmother’s birthday and also promises to pay her mother back for household stuff. She might seem vulnerable at times, but she is better off alone than being happier with her husband. Farida is undoubtedly a beauty with a brain. With her numerical intelligence, tenacious and decisive nature, absolute loyalty, and humbleness, she tricked the misogynistic system into gaining fame and money.
Mona Hussain As Munira
Munira, the character of the fearless protagonist, is contradictory in comparison to Farida. Of course, Munira, 32 and happily unmarried, has been serving the stock market for two years but is extremely competitive when it comes to not just her work but also her beloved cousin Farida. Munira excels at her profession and isn’t nervous about clashing with men on the trading desk. Born and brought up between three brothers, she has been seeking validation from her family and society for years. She is the only lady at the bank before her cousin joins her, but she knows how to look back “in anger” at the patriarchal society. Mathematics and business strategies are at her fingertips, but when it comes to trading, Munira has to run to Saud Salim, her manager, to get her ideas approved. How she visited the husbandry and instantly realized that the prices of sheep would follow the pork prices due to the Chernobyl attack is truly a remarkable instance. Apart from her abilities, she sounds pretty covetous of Farida’s beauty, which becomes clear while they are being interviewed. Munira is cantankerous and harsh yet so confident in her skin that it helps her deal with her double life. As there was no female restroom in the office, she yelled and used the male washroom instead. You cannot stop appreciating this character after she sticks with her cousin to work out their progressive plans. From driving a car on her own to paying bills, from convincing clients to avoiding criticism, the lead has set a benchmark for gutsy characters. A shoutout goes to Munira for the daredevil attitude that helped her conquer the claustrophobic and oppressive platform ruled by narcissistic men.
Rayan Dashti As Jood
Jood, the daughter of Farida, plays a significant role in building the plot. She is doing her best in school and is passionate enough to follow the violin classes. Jood got admission to a public school as his father refused to pay for her extravagant school. Her infinite love and concern for her mother show how they share a friendly bond. She is sweet to her grandparents, and thus the love reciprocates in the same way. The pet person gets inclined toward a lamb that is supposed to be slaughtered for the family function. A teenager seeks attention and affirmation, which were lacking from Farida’s side; thus, she ends up looking for fatherly love. Jood possesses basic instincts and qualities that will not outgrow the heart of her mother. The character is delicate yet straightforward, compelling, and empathetic at such a young age, which could easily captivate the fans.
Injustice, bias, and institutional racism are so embedded in the evolution of human civilization that women are not given chances to show their skills. “The Exchange,” voiced in Arabic with English subtitles, portrays how Munira and Farida are far more than the male ego and are going to drive you around the twist.
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