Tales from The Past – Salah Nazmi and his Feud with Abdel Halim Hafez

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Sat, 08 Aug 2020 - 02:43 GMT

File: Abdel Halim Hafez and Salah Nazmi

File: Abdel Halim Hafez and Salah Nazmi

 

CAIRO - 8 August 2020: In our new series ‘Tales from the Past’ we will be bringing you stories from the ‘golden’ past that is often looked back upon with nostalgia and longing for a less complicated period, one that was full of class and purity.

Today we bring you the tale of a feud that occurred between the actor Salah Nazmi, known for his evil roles in films and TV drama and the legendary singer Abdel Halim Hafez.

Nazmi unlike the roles he often portrayed was described by people close to him as a person with great humanity and dignity. So how did the feud get triggered? During an interview with Hafez, he was asked to name the least charismatic actor, in his personal view and so he named Nazmi. Naturally this angered the actor to an extent that he headed to the nearest police station and reported Hafez for slander and defamation.

The case soon reached court and both parties were present, where Hafez defence team claimed that the intention was never aimed at Nazmi the person but the characters he had played, precisely the role of the diplomat who marries Faten Hamama breaking the love story between her and Emad Hamdi in the film ‘Bayen Al Atlal’ (Among the Ruins). The plot of the film resonated with Hafez as it was claimed that the film made Hafez Cry because touched a personal chord – his own love story with ‘Didi’ whose aristocratic family married her off to a diplomat and refused her relationship with Hafez.

The judge cleared Hafez of all charges and before leaving the court the two men had resolved their difference and put an end to the feud as they were spotted hugging outside the court. Their show of affection was not an act for the press but a sincere reconcilement as Hafez invited Nazmi for dinner.

During the dinner invite, Hafez phoned the producer of his latest film at the time ‘Abi Fawq El Shajara’ (My Father on Top of the Tree) and asked for Nazmi to be given a role.

Nazmi’s character was the total opposite of the roles he played and his life was full of interesting incidents.

He met his wife by complete coincidence as one day he was returning home when he spotted a woman coming out of the building who instantly grabbed his attention, so he smiled at her only to be blanked and ignored by her. Nazmi set his sight on her and made it his mission to find out who she was visiting and when he discovered her brother was his neighbour, he went and asked for her hand in marriage.

Nazmi’s marriage lasted more than 30 years, his wife Alice Yacoub, of the Armenian faith converted to Islam upon their wedding and changed her name to Roqyea Nazmi. They had a son together, Hussein, named after Nazmi’s close friend the actor Hussein Reath, who supported Nazmi during difficult financial times and gave him roles in films he produced.

When Nazmi’s wife got ill and became disabled, he stood by her, caring for her and refusing her pleas for him to remarry and after her death he entered a period of severe depression and soon after he was admitted into hospital and spent the last few months of his life in intensive care, only to die in February 1991.

 

 

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