Al-Ahram Weekly Online   11 - 17 August 2011
Issue No. 1060
Published in Cairo by AL-AHRAM established in 1875


Hind Rostom (1929-2011) Egypt's Monroe

By Soha Hesham

Click to view caption

Hind Rostom, the legendary Egyptian actress, died of a heart attack on Monday at the age of 82, after she was hospitalised with chest pains.

Rostom was born on 11 November 1929 in Alexandria to a Turkish father and an Egyptian mother. She started her career as an actress with the film Azhaar wa Ashwak (Flowers and Thorns) in 1947, and her stardom blossomed rapidly afterwards and with the help of her looks, especially her blond hair. Rostom managed to turn into one of the icons of the Egyptian screen and soon came to be known as the Marilyn Monroe of the East, playing the belle and the seductress.

In 1955, Rostom proved incredibly popular with the huge success of filmmaker Hassan El-Imam's Banat Al-Leil (Women of the Night), working alongside with late actors Hamdi Gheith and Kamal El-Shenawi and actress Madiha Youssri. In 1958 she gained even greater recognition after the success of Youssef Chahine's landmark film Bab Al-Hadid (Cairo Station), written by Abdel Hayy Adib, starring opposite the director himself. In Bab Al-Hadid she plays the role of a the beautiful young woman (Hannouma) who sells drinks at the central Cairo train station while Qinawi (Chahine), a newspaper boy and a half wit, is obsessed with her; Hannouma, for her part, is in love with the station's macho porter (Farid Shawqi).

Rostom was lucky to work with the greatest cinematic figures of her day. One of her best known social comedies, during the golden age of Egyptian cinema, was with the celebrated actor Omar Sharif: Fatin Abdel-Wahab's classic Esha'et Hob (Rumour of Love) in 1960, in which she played herself. In Esha'et Hob Rostom arrives in Port Said to confront a rumour about an affair she had with a young man called Hussein (Sharif), devised by his uncle (the great pioneer Youssef Wahbi) to make his cousin Samiha (Soad Hosny) jealous and facilitate their marriage. In the same year, Rostom worked with another master of the silver screen, the director Salah Abu Seif, in Bein Al-Sama wal Ard (Between Heaven and Earth), in a cast that included Mahmoud El-Melugi, Abdel-Moneim Ibrahim and Abdel-Salam El-Nabulsi -- a most remarkable comedy, once again.

Another Fatin Abdel-Wahab comedy in which Rostom participated was Ibn Hamidu (Hamidu's Son), in 1957; it features Ismail Yassin, Ahmed Ramzi, Zeinat Sedqi and Abdel-Fattah El-Qussari as well as Tawfiq El-Deken; she plays one of her most admirable roles as the attractive fisherman's daughter seducing the police officer in disguise (Ramzi).

In Atef Salem's Siraa Fil Nil (Struggle on the Nile) in 1959, Rostom starred opposite Sharif and Roushdi Abaza, two of the most talented artists in Egyptian cinema. This is probably her quintessential role as seductress. On the boat Bride of the Nile, Muhasab (Sharif) and his friend the captain of the boat, Mujahed (Abaza) make a journey in order to buy a barge, and on the way they meet Nargis (Rostom), the carnival dancer who seduces them both to steal their money on orders from their competitors.

In 1965 Rostom went back to comedy and registered great success with Fouad El-Mohandess and Shwikar in E'terafat Zoug (A Husband's Confession), once again directed by Fatin Abdel-Wahab. Rostom ended her acting career in 1979 and has seldom appeared in public since.

Selected filmography

*Azhaar wa Ashwak (Flowers and Thorns), 1947

*Al-Aab (The Father), 1947

*Ala Ad Lehafak (According to One's Means), 1949

*Baba Amin (Father Amin), 1950

*Intisar Al-Islam (The Victory of Islam), 1952

*Tariq Al-Saada (The Road to Happiness), 1953

*Gahim Al-Ghira (The Cheat), 1954

*Al-Mohtal (The Cheat), 1954

*E'terafat Zouga (A Wife's Confession), 1956

*Banat Al-Leil (Women of the Night), 1955

*Al-Gassad (Flesh), 1955

*Ibn Hamidu (Hamidu's Son), 1957

*Touha, 1957

*Seraa Ma' Al-Haya (Struggle for Life), 1958

*La Anaam (Sleepless), 1958

*Garimet Hob (Crime of Love), 1959

*Ismail Yassin fi Mostashfa Al-Maganen (Ismail Yassin in the Mental Hospital), 1958

*Bab Al-Hadid (Cairo Station), 1958

*Saher Al-Nesaa (Betrayer of Women), 1958

*Al-Hob Al-Sameit (Unspoken Love), 1959

*Awatef, 1959

*Seraa Fil Nil (Struggle on the Nile), 1959

*Qabelny fil Zalam (A Kiss in the Night), 1959

*Bein Al-Sama wal Ard (Between Heaven and Earth), 1960

*Esha'et Hob (Love Rumor), 1960

*Hob fi Hob (Love and Love), 1960

*Ragol Bila Qalb (Man Without a Heart), 1960

*Ragol Fil Asefa (Man in the Storm), 1960

*Set Al-Banat (A Pearl Among Women), 1962

*Demaa Ala Al-Nil (Blood on the Nile), 1961

*Tariq Al-Abtal (The Road of Heroes), 1961

*Al-Moraheq Al-Kabir (The Mature Teenager), 1961

*Ghadan Youm Akhar (Tomorrow is Another Day), 1962

*Shafiqa Al-Qebtiya (Shafiqa the Copt Girl), 1963

*Emraa Ala Al-Hamesh (A Woman on the Outside), 1964

*E'terafat Zoug (A Husband's Confession), 1965

*Al-Hob Al-Khaled (Immortal Love), 1965

*Al-Raheba (The Nun), 1965

*Al-Wadi'a (The Pledge), 1966

*Al-Zoug Al-A'zeb (The Bachelor Husband), 1966

*Tofahet Adam (Adam's Apple), 1966

*Thalaath Lousous (Three Robbers), 1966

*Shayatein Al-Leil (Nightmares), 1965

*Howa wal Nesaa (The Man and His Woman), 1966

*Al-Khoroug Min Al-Gana (Out of Heaven), 1967

*Al-Aris Al-Thani (The Second Groom), 1967

*Modaresty Al-Hasnaa (My Fair Teacher), 1971

*Agayeb ya Zaman (Wonders of Time), 1974

*A'zam Tefl fel Allam (The Greatest Child in the World), 1975

© Copyright Al-Ahram Weekly. All rights reserved

Issue 1060 Front Page
Front Page | Egypt | Focus | Economy | Region | Opinion | Press review | Readers' corner | Culture | Features | Living | Entertainment | Sports | People | Cartoons | Sky High | Listings | BOOKS | TRAVEL
Current issue | Previous issue | Site map