Fouad el Mohandes and Shweikar - File Photo
CAIRO - 6 September 2019: Fouad el Mohandes is a name that speaks for itself when it is first mentioned. He is simply one of a kind comedian. Everyone takes him as a role model, and they try to learn a lot from his unique performance.
For his colleagues, students and successors he was the “Professor.” Professor was his former title and it reflected how el Mohandes was an important source of admiration, appreciation and inspiration to all those who are working in the artistic field.
El Mohandes was one of the main leaders in the Egyptian Comic School who had a large following. He succeeded throughout his career in shaping the Egyptian culture in the minds of more than one generation.
El Mohandes’s early beginning
The brilliant comedian was born in Cairo on September 6, 1924 in Cairo.
El Mohandes’s father Zaki El-Mohandes, was a distinguished scholar and he was the dean of Dar Al-Ulum. That’s why El Mohandes has excellent diction and elocution. His passion for art began in school while performing in the school plays. After he graduated from school, he joined the faculty of Commerce in Cairo University. He performed many plays in the university’s theatre. At that time, El Mohandes attended the great comedian, Naguib El RIhani’s plays to gain more experience.
El Mohandes work Achievments>/b>
1. Theaterical achievements
The turning point in El Mohandes’s career came when he began to perform in television-sponsored plays. He was the hero of the famous successful comic plays ‘’Ana Wa Huwa Wa Hiyya’’ (I, He and She; 1962) and ‘’Al-Sekerteir Al-Fanni’’ (The Technical Secretary; 1963). These plays drew attention to El Mohandes as a comedian with a different taste.
In 1966, he co-founded the United Artists Troupe, taking leading roles in several plays executed by the troupe such as “Ana Wa Huwa Wa Sumuwwuh’’ (I, He and his Highness; 1966), and ‘’Sayyidati Al-Gamila’’ which is an adaptation of “My Fair Lady” from 1968. These plays are considered by most to be the best of El Mohandes’s plays.
In 1971, El Mohandes formed an extremely popular duo with his wife Shweikar. This duo enriched the history of Egyptian theatre with plays, such as “Hello Dolly” (1971), “Leih, Leih” (Why, Oh Why?; 1976,) and “Innaha Haqan 'A'ila Muhtarama” (It Really is a Respectable Family; 1978).
2. Cinematic achievements
El-Mohandes' first appearance on the silver screen was in 1953 in ‘’Ghaltat Umr’’(The Mistake of a Lifetime) film, which was followed by his role in ‘’Bint Al-Geiran’’ (The Neighbours' Daughter; 1954). El Mohandes performed supporting roles in several successful films, including ‘’Bayn Al-Atlal’’(Amid the Ruins), “Nahr Al-Hubb” (The River of Love), “Almaz wa Abdou El-Hamouli,” and “Shafiqa El-Qibtiyya” (Shafiqa the Copt).
His role opposite Shweikar remains the most memorable. Among these films are; “Shanabou Fil Masyada” (Shanabou in the Trap), “Inta Illi Qatalt Babaya” (You Killed My Father), and “Mutarada Gharamiyya” (Amorous Chase).
3. Television acheivments
El Mohandes appeared in several soap operas such as “Uyun” (Eyes), “Azwag Lakin Ghurba'” (Married but Estranged) and “El-Za'ir El-Mag-houl” (The Unknown Visitor).
Awards and Honours
Throughout his career he has won several awards. In 1994, he was honoured from the first Comedy Festival organised by the Egyptian Society for Theatre Amateurs. In 1999, he was honoured by Cairo International Film Festival and was presented with a prize from the Catholic Centre for Artistic Creativity. El Mohandes was the first comedian to receive the State Merit Award in 2005.
Factors that made El Mohandes different from any other Egyptian Comedian
1. Sa'a Li-Qalbak (An Hour to Your Heart) comical programme (1953−Early 1960s)
This funny program highlighted social issues found between married couples. If you are familiar with a wife nagging her husband, and always ending her questions with, “Ya Mahmoooud ya 7abibi’’ (Mahmoud, my love), then you witnessed Mahmoud performed by El Mohandes. The wife was performed by the famous female comedian, Khairya Ahmed.
2. Fawazeer Aammo Fouad ( Uncle Fouad Riddles) (1980s–1990s)
These were not the first fawazeer (riddles) Egyptian television broadcasts, but they were the first dedicated to children. Egyptian children for 20 years waited every Ramadan for the fun and educational episodes that were presented in an attractive way by Aammo Fouad.
3. Kelmetein w Bas ( Two Words Only) radio program (1968)
Every morning at 7:55 a.m., most Egyptians were accustomed to listen to the voice of El Mohandes on this radio program. This was a socially charged program, where they used to shed light on societal problems while, they also offered solutions to overcome them.
4. Abo El Fasaad Song
This song is a trademark of all Egyptian birthdays. The storyline of the video clip revolves around a group of birds celebrating the birthday of Abulfasad, whose voice was performed by El Mohandes. His voice will live on forever in all of our birthdays.
El Mohandes died on September 16, 2006. He managed to carve his name on Egyptian theatre, cinema, radio and television history. El Mohandes strongly believed in team spirit and the great support he gave to younger comedians truly reflects his unique personality.