CAIRO – 13 November 2017: Golden age legend Salah Zulfakar remains commemorated on Egyptian screens to this day as viewers remember his charming smile and his unique depiction of Egyptian men in society at that classical time. Egypt Today tracks down the films where Zulfakar became a screen legend of Egyptian golden cinema.
A former police officer, the ambitious actor also worked as a producer and pioneered the Arab’s world greatest artists. Zulfakar resonated from an artistic family where his brothers Ezz El Din Zulfakar worked in film directing and Mahmoud Zulfakar worked as an actor.
He contributed to several films, TV series such as ‘Shalash’s Family’ and ‘ El Osta El Modeer’, and theatrical performances such as ‘Robibekya’. Zulfakar was married to veteran singing and cinema legend Shadia. The couple displayed a harmonious romantic bond on screen too, where they were well known for the characters of Ahmed and Mona in ‘Aghla mn Hayaty’ (More Precious than My Life) (1967) in which Zulfakar proposed to Shadia in reality following film release.
Zulfakar has passed away in 1993 on the set of his last film ‘El-Erhaby’ (The Terrorist) that starred Adel Emam.
‘Afreet Meraty’ (My Wife’s Ghost)
Produced in 1968, the movie is the last film starring Shadia and Zulfakar as a couple and revolves around a wife ‘Aida’ who feels lonely due to the lack of attention from her husband who is always busy at work. Aida decides to keep herself busy by watching films all day until she develops a habit of unintentionally playing the roles of the characters she watched in those films throughout her real life.
‘Meraty Modeer A’am’ (My wife is a General Manager)
One of the strongest films to tackle gender issues, ‘My wife is a General Manager’ portrays women rights in acquiring leading positions in parallel to leading a major role as a wife in a household. Starring Shadia and Zulfakar, Shadia plays the role of a manager who leads a team of architects that includes Zulfakar, her husband. The film was an effective platform that discussed how men feel when their wives outstands them in careers.
‘Aghla mn Hayaty’ (More Precious than my Life)
The drama/ romantic film revolves around Ahmed and Mona who live a memorable love story as young people and decide to get married only to find out that Mona’s father doesn’t approve this marriage and as a result several dramatic events unfold in each of their lives. Despite the different paths they both take, Ahmed and Mona remain faithful to each other and in love even when distant.
‘El Aydy El Na’ema’ (Soft Hands)
Starring Ahmed Mazhar as a protagonist, the film revolves around Mazhar an elite prince who struggles with paying debts later in his life and is forced to adapt to a new lifestyle where he works hard to make a living. Despite the film focusing on Mazhar, Zulfakar is significantly remembered for his role as a poor Arabic teacher who gradually introduces Mazhar to reality and responsibility.
‘Rod Qalby’ (Back Again)
Zulfakar strikes again despite his short role in the film where he plays the brother of the protagonist Ali (Shoukry Sarhan). Ali, a soldier who falls in love with one of the Pasha’s daughter but is not able to marry her due to their different social classes however they’re rejoiced once again after many years.
‘El Ragel El Thany’ (The Second Man)
Societal/ drama film, The Second Man stars Lebanese actress and singer Sabah and Zulfukar who plays part in resolving a murder. Sabah, who plays Lamiaa, resorts to police for help where she meets Zulfukar who plays a police officer named Assem.
‘A’let Shalash’ (Shalesh’s Family)
A replica of Egyptian society in 1990’s TV series ‘Shalesh’s Family’ is a promising comedy where Zulfukar shines in the role of professor Shalesh who deals with daily various situations with his neighbors and family.
‘El Naser Salah El Din’ (Salah El Din the Victorious)
Leading a minor role, Zulfukar also pioneered in ‘Salah El Din the Victorious’ that tackled the third crusade in which pilgrims in Mecca were attacked by an outbreak of armies.
‘El Rebat El Mokadas’ (The Sacred Bond)
Released in 1960, the film is based on Tawfik El Hakim’s novel which revolves around a woman (Sabah) who is dragged into a different path where she desires attention from men other than her husband (Zulfukar), leading her to an affair.