Hend Rostom - Egypt Today.
CAIRO – 22 February 2019: ‘’ Ana Bekheer Etameno’’ ( I am Fine Don’t Worry) exhibition was organized on the sidelines of Aswan International Women Film Festival.
The Exhibition houses late great actress Hend Rostom’s collectibles such as her red dress that she wore in one of her movies.
Who is Hend Rostom?
Egyptian cinema diva and multi-talented actress of the golden cinema age, late Hend Rostom often referred to as ‘Marilyn Monroe’ of the Arab region.
Rostom’s father comes from a Turkish family and worked as a police officer in Alexandria before divorcing her Egyptian mother who moved to Cairo afterwards with her daughter.
A screen legend and one of the greatest icons in the golden age cinema, Rostom was originally named Nariman Hussein Murad and has moved out from Alexandria to Cairo following her family’s separation in 1946.
Surprisingly she never intended to pursue an acting career! One day Rostom’s friend took her to one of the well-know production companies in Cairo to casually participate in acting auditions. She later appeared as a background/ alternative actress for the first time in 1949 during the two-minute song ‘Etmakhtry ya Khel’ (Dance Khel) by Laila Murad in film ‘Ghazl El Banat’ where she was riding a horse behind Murad as she sang.
Rostom has participated as a silent actor in eight films including ‘El Setat Mabyerfosh Yekdebo’ (Women Can’t Lie), ‘Azhar w Ashwak’ (Roses and Thorns), ‘El Ab’ (The Father), ‘El Roh w El Gasad’ (The Body and Soul), among others.
The acting pioneer has performed in over 86 Egyptian films including her top roles in ‘Hob fi Zalam’ (Love in Darkness) in 1953, ‘E’terfat Zoga’ (Confessions of a Wife) in 1954, ‘Banat El Leil’ (Night Girls), and ‘El Gasad’ (The Body), among many others. She mastered several roles of drama, romance, comedy in ‘Hob fi hob’ (Love in Love), and seduction.
In many films she played the tough role of an evil scornful woman and in others she played roles of the complete opposite where she emerged as an elite or a sophisticated feminine diva featuring eloquent manners.
Despite her vividly displayed beauty on screen the ambitious late actress didn’t know how to dance. She was however specially taught by contemporary dancing legend Ali Reda who accompanied her in all her films for an entire year, according to state-owned Al Ahram. Famous Syrian actor and singer Farid El Atrash has also taught her dancing in ‘Enta Habeeby’ (You’re my Lover) where he used to dance backstage behind the camera while Rostom mimics his moves.
Rostom refused to play part in the prominent classic film ‘Aby Fawk El Shagara’ (My Father is above the Tree) that was originally based on a novel by Ehsan Abdel Kodous. Abdel Kodous has first approached Rostom to play the role of the Abdelhalim Hafez’s lover with complete confidence that she would agree to take the role, but he was left surprised knowing she declined the role after reading the script.
She explained to Abdel Kodous that the story contains several intimate scenes featuring many hugs and kisses that she will not be able to perform at that time. She added that the role came against her faithfulness to her husband and her wishes of setting a good example for her young daughter. The role was later played by classical actress Nadia Lutfi and the film was released in 1969.
Rostom retired in 1979 at the age of only 50 years old after finishing her last film which was a hit in cinema ‘Hayaty Azab’ (My Life is Torture). Her retirement came as a persistent firm in which she decided to dedicate the rest of her life to her family and raising her only daughter Passant.