Most famed Arab actresses who were magnificent mothers on screen

Updated 21 March 2018
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Most famed Arab actresses who were magnificent mothers on screen

CAIRO: Arab cinema fans would hardly forget some of the Middle East’s iconic actresses who brilliantly played the role of mothers on screen, for their memorable roles are deeply ingrained within their audiences.

And as the region marks Mother’s Day, Arab News is honored to shed light on some of these magnificent cinematic mothers.

Amina Rezk (1910 — 2003)
Rezk was a popular Egyptian actress who took part in 208 artworks and is known for her roles as the kind-hearted mother in plays and films. Her most notable motherly roles include “Do3a2 Al Karawan” aka The Nightingale’s Prayer; “Bidaya wa Nehaya” aka A Beginning and an End, and “Kandil Om Hashem” or The Lamp of Umm Hashim.



Ferdos Mohamed (1906 — 1961)
She is one of the greatest mother’s in Egyptian cinema, who probably haven’t played any other role expect for a loving mother.



Karima Mokhtar (1934 — 2017)
There is no doubt that “Mama Noona” is on the top of the list, a character played by Mukhtar dubbed as one of her many successful motherly roles. The legendary Egyptian actress has perfectly prorated the Egyptian mother in many of her roles, inlcuding the caring Karima in “Ya Rab Wald” and the pan-Arab loved play “Al Ayal Kibrit.”



Faten Hamama (1931 — 2015)
While cinema-goers are used to seeing her as an elegant and beautiful icon of Egyptian cinema, Faten Hamama has played significant motherly roles over the course of her career, such as “Emberatoriet meem” or Empire M, which tells the story of a wealthy widow who struggles to raise her six children.



Abla Kamel
The Egyptian actress is known for her stellar performances across the Arab world. Her most memorable role is playing Fatma, the hard-working wife of a self-made millionaire in the iconic rags-to-riches story, “Lan Aish fi Jilbab Abi.”



Hayat Al Fahd
The legendary Kuwaiti actress is known for motherly roles across the Gulf and often appeared as the caregiver of the family, and is known as ‘The Lady of the Khaliji small screen.’


Cirque du Soleil in Saudi Arabia: The perfect tribute to a rich culture

Crique du Soleil in Riyadh. (Arab News)
Updated 24 September 2018
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Cirque du Soleil in Saudi Arabia: The perfect tribute to a rich culture

  • Crique du Soleil created a spectacular show in Riyadh
  • They paid tribute to Saudi culture and heritage

RIYADH: The circus — a place that is almost synonymous with joy and delight. Since time immemorial, circuses have been places of celebration and glee, and few as much as the premier name in the industry: Cirque du Soleil.

The show has had a devoted fan in me since 2006, when I attended a performance of their production “Quidam” and my definition of the word “circus” was turned upside-down. Their unique approach to art, performance, costumes and music has secured their status as a household name and a benchmark for all other circus shows to be measured against.

On Sunday night, Saudi Arabia’s National Day, the circus brought their incredible acrobatics to Riyadh’s King Fahad Stadium and it turned out to be a night to remember.



Prior to the event, Cirque’s Vice President of Creation Daniel Fortin offered little in the way of spoilers but hinted that we would see something the likes of which we never had before. With the promises of exclusive new acts, music, costumes and stage tricks piquing my excitement, I joined a throng of green-and white-clad spectators flooding the stadium. Performing to a sold-out crowd, the show kicked off at exactly 8.30 p.m. and the magic truly began.

Barely five minutes into the show, something stole over me as I settled into the rhythm of the music, something I saw flickering over the faces of those in the crowd around me: Recognition. We were seeing ourselves, our identity, echoed back at us, but with a twist. We saw ourselves through someone else’s eyes — someone respectful and admiring.



As a Saudi youth today, it has become an unfortunately common occurrence to face negativity from various outsiders, born of ignorance or fear. It has become dreary and repetitive to have to continually defend my people and my culture from those who have no wish to understand us.

But at this show? I saw my country once more through the eyes of an outsider, but this time, it was different. I saw my culture and my heritage lauded, celebrated, delicately fused with that tangible Cirque du Soleil flair. The attention to detail was careful, almost loving, but also daring and outlandish. It was a glorious fusion of classic Saudi aesthetics with the ethereal, bizarre beauty of Cirque du Soleil.


The symbolism was not always obvious, sometimes it was subtle, constrained to the beat of a drum or hidden in a snatch of song. Other times, it was blatant and bold, in the sloping hump of an elegantly clumsy camel costume, or the billowing of the Bedouin Big Top in the gentle breeze. And yet, unmistakeably, I felt the Saudi influences in every note of the performance. It felt like an homage, and yet it did nothing to diminish its own identity. It remained unquestionably a Cirque du Soleil performance, only below the usual circus frippery, there was a ribbon of something else that lay coiled beneath the surface. Something bright, vibrant green. Saudi green.

The spectacle rounded off with an astonishing display of fireworks, so plentiful that for a moment, the sky glowed bright as day. To me, each one felt like a promise fulfilled. A dream achieved. A miracle witnessed. Here, on my own home soil, it was the perfect tribute to a rich and vivid culture.