Adel Emam: The biggest star in Arab cinema

Adel Emam: The biggest star in Arab cinema
Adel Emam attends the 14th Marrakech International Film Festival Opening Ceremony on December 5, 2014 in Marrakech, Morocco. (Getty)
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Updated 27 October 2022

Adel Emam: The biggest star in Arab cinema

Adel Emam: The biggest star in Arab cinema
  • For this week’s edition of our series on Arab icons, we profile one of the Arab world’s most popular stars
  • The Egyptian actor’s remarkable longevity is down to his talent and integrity

DUBAI: There are not many lives as full as Adel Emam’s. Put it this way: The Dubai International Film Festival has given him a Lifetime Achievement Award twice. A legend of stage and screen — both big and small — Emam is the crown prince of Egyptian pop-culture, a comic and dramatic actor who has appeared in 103 movies and more than a dozen TV series over an astounding career that has lasted more than 60 years. 

At 82, Emam may have taken a slight step back from the public eye, but the love the Arab world continues to show for him, and his influence on the generations of talent who grew up idolizing him, is as immense as it has ever been. 




Adel Emam with Hend Sabry in Marwan Hamed's 'The Yacoubian Building'. (Supplied)

“Everything in the world changes. The rhythm of speech changes. Life becomes fast too. And believe me, you can fool some people all the time, and you can fool all the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time,” Emam told Kuwait’s Zaman TV in the 1970s. “It is honesty that determines career longevity, and an actor’s esteem from his fans determines his continuation or his end.”

While Emam was waxing philosophical about another actor at the time, by his own metric it is his sincerity that has helped earn his following — both from those that watch his work, and those that have worked with him directly. 

His straightforward nature and honesty have long been the key to his comedic voice, too, allowing him to tackle hot-button issues such as gender roles in society (1966’s “My Wife, The Director General”); terrorism and religious extremism (1979’s “We are the Bus People,” 1992’s “Terrorism and Kebab,” 2006’s “Hassan and Marcus”); political corruption (2006’s “The Yacoubian Building”) and more, only come out the other side (mostly) unscathed. (Like many Egyptian celebrities, he has stirred controversy with his indelible satire, but no charges against him have ever stuck.)

For Marwan Hamed, Egypt’s top modern director and the man behind Egypt’s current all-time box-office champion “Kira & El Gin,” there’s simply no competition — there has been no bigger moment for him than collaborating on “The Yacoubian Building” with the man known as “Al Zaeem” (The Big Boss).

“Working with the Egyptian legend Adel Emam has been the greatest privilege I’ve had in my career,” Hamed tells Arab News. “Adel Emam is my childhood, teenage, and all-time, hero. Working with him was a great moment, and to work with such a great man and artist in my first film was an exceptional honor for me.

“His humanity, generosity and love were the highlight of this experience, and personally I learned a lot from him, whether from observing him or from the words of advice that he gave me,” he continues. “I’m not exaggerating when I say that the whole experience is the most memorable I’ve had, and every shooting day was full of value and true art.




Egyptian film star and comedian Adel Imam (L) applauds with his wife Hala al-Sharakani (R) the beginning of the first screening of his new film "Hello America" at the opening night 04 January 2000 in Cairo. (AFP)

In “The Yacoubian Building,” which became the most popular film in Egyptian history up to that point (a theme throughout Hamed’s career) and the best-received performance of Emam’s dramatic career, Emam cemented himself as Egypt’s biggest star, regardless of genre. He also helped launch the career of his own son, Mohamed Emam, his co-star in the film and now one of the biggest stars in Egypt in his own right. 

“I love him so much. I admire him so much. He's my idol,” Mohamed told Arab News earlier this year, while admitting that it hadn’t always been easy trying to build his own career. “It’s very difficult to become an actor when your father is the biggest actor in the world,” he said. “It was a big, big struggle at first. Slowly people grew to understand that I love cinema, that I don’t do this just because my father is a big actor.”

As a public figure, Emam has long been humble in nature, rarely pointing to himself as a leader.

“I am not a superstar, or a leader of any kind. There are no leaders in art. All I want is to use my talents to make people's lives better, if only in a small way,” he once said.




Adel Imam and Omar Sharif in 2008 at a press conference announcing their film 'Hassan and Marcus.' (Getty) 

That, of course, is likely why people trust his opinions. Interviewers have often found themselves asking for his thoughts on political or social issues, looking to him for guidance in the debates of the day. And he invariably answers candidly — and often bravely. 

In those conversations, however, he does not see himself as anything more than a voice in the crowd.

“The masses are the ones who move politics, and the problems of the masses are the things that move politics. It is not an individual who moves politics,” he told Zaman TV.

Born in 1940 in the city of Mansoura in Egypt, Emam studied agriculture at Cairo University, where he lost interest in his studies and became intrigued by the art, literature and theater that his friends were introducing him to. 

“I feel (acting is) in my blood,” he said to Kuwait’s Zaman TV. “I love it, and my connection is always with people in the audience. In film, the camera enters the heart through the eyes. The more heart you see, the more honest the artist.”




Emam studied agriculture at Cairo University. (Getty)

As popular as Emam is, there are many sides to him that are not common public knowledge. Compared to his contemporaries and co-stars such as Omar Sharif and Soad Hosny, his private life has remained relatively private. But those are the sides that his own son hopes to portray on screen someday, Mohamed told Arab News.

“There’s another side to him that people don’t see: The father. The man that I know best,” he said. “I would love to be able to tell that story myself someday.”

While Emam may have slowed down, his career is still going strong. He last starred in the 2021 film “Bodyguard,” and is set to star once again with his son in “El Wad W Aboh” in the near future.

As for persistent rumors of his ill health or retirement, The Big Boss himself is here to put them to rest. 

“Honestly, it’s a great feeling for a man to read his own obituary while he is well,” Eman joked to ET Bil Arabi last month.


Lebanon’s Nadine Labaki, Bollywood star Ranbir Kapoor to receive awards at Red Sea International Film Festival

Lebanon’s Nadine Labaki, Bollywood star Ranbir Kapoor  to receive awards at Red Sea International Film Festival
Nadine Labaki was nominated for a Best International Feature Film Oscar for 2018’s “Capernaum.” (AFP)
Updated 29 November 2022

Lebanon’s Nadine Labaki, Bollywood star Ranbir Kapoor to receive awards at Red Sea International Film Festival

Lebanon’s Nadine Labaki, Bollywood star Ranbir Kapoor  to receive awards at Red Sea International Film Festival

DUBAI: Lebanese director and actress Nadine Labaki and Bollywood star Ranbir Kapoor will receive Variety International Vanguard Awards at the upcoming Red Sea International Film Festival in Jeddah.

Labaki, who was nominated for a Best International Feature Film Oscar for 2018’s “Capernaum,” will also appear at the festival as part of the “In Conversation” series on Dec. 3.

Kapoor rose to fame in 2007 with “Saawariya” and has since starred in 30 films.

“Nadine Labaki and Ranbir Kapoor are two remarkable talents in the film industry,” said Red Sea fest CEO Mohammed Al-Turki in a statement. “We are honored to be partnering with Variety to recognize their huge talent and contribution to the industry, and to be hosting ‘In Conversation’ events with each of them to hear about their past success and hopes for the future. Each a unique storyteller, we look forward to welcoming them to Jeddah.”


Nigerian artist Rema tops first-ever Official MENA Chart

Nigerian artist Rema tops first-ever Official MENA Chart
Nigerian artist Rema has nabbed the top spot on the first-ever regional chart with his hit “Calm Down.” (Supplied)
Updated 29 November 2022

Nigerian artist Rema tops first-ever Official MENA Chart

Nigerian artist Rema tops first-ever Official MENA Chart

DUBAI: The first-ever Official MENA Chart has been released with the support of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry.

Here, we take a look at the songs that claimed the top six spots in this week’s countdown.  

#1  

Nigerian artist Rema has nabbed the top spot on the first-ever regional chart with his hit “Calm Down.” The weekly chart includes music streaming data from Anghami, Apple Music, Deezer, Spotify and YouTube. 

#2 

In at number two is Egyptian artist Farid with “Ba’amaret Meen,” a lilting melody with heartfelt lyrics. 

#3 

The influence of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar is apparent, with K-Pop superstar Jung Kook’s hit “Dreamers,” which he performed with Kuwaiti singer Fahad Al-Kubaisi at the event’s opening ceremony, nabbing the number three spot.  

#4 

Egyptian pop singer Ahmed Saad’s “Wasa3 Wasa3” came in at number four, proving the Egyptian music scene is one to be reckoned with.  

#5 

Another FIFA World Cup anthem, Ozuna, GIMS and RedOne’s “Arhbo” is currently a popular hit in the region. The hit features lyrics in French, Spanish, English and Arabic. 

#6 

In at number six is “Unholy” by British singer Sam Smith, featuring German singer Kim Petras. The song went viral on TikTok earlier this year.  


Designer Amina Muaddi to be honored at FN Achievement Awards in New York

Designer Amina Muaddi to be honored at FN Achievement Awards in New York
Amina Muaddi will receive the designer of the year prize at the 2022 FN Achievement Awards. (File/ Getty Images)
Updated 29 November 2022

Designer Amina Muaddi to be honored at FN Achievement Awards in New York

Designer Amina Muaddi to be honored at FN Achievement Awards in New York

DUBAI: Celebrity-loved Romanian Jordanian footwear designer Amina Muaddi has given her 1.3 million Instagram followers a glimpse of her recent trip to Japan before she receives the designer of the year prize at the 2022 FN Achievement Awards in New York on Nov. 30.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by AMINA MUADDI (@aminamuaddi)

The Footwear News awards is hosted by the American industry magazine that specializes in covering the international shoe industry. This year, Muaddi will be granted the designer of the year award, while Christian Louboutin will be given the lifetime achievement award. The best collaboration award will go to the “Manolo Blahnik for Birkenstock” collection, while the year’s best shoe has been unveiled as the Louis Vuitton x Nike Air Force 1 by late designer Virgil Abloh.

Muaddi — who flew to Japan after visiting Qatar, where she attended the recent Fashion Trust Arabia awards — shared two carousel posts on Instagram, giving her followers an inside peek at her time in the country.

In the bevy of stylish photos, Muaddi can be seen enjoying Japanese cuisine, posing beside a luxury pool and exploring Tokyo by night.

The designer was joined by a number of friends on the trip, including US Palestinian model and musician Fai Khadra. 

Muaddi gave readers insight into her jet set lifestyle and career highs and lows in a telling interview with Footwear News in September.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by AMINA MUADDI (@aminamuaddi)

“I was so passionate, so I was willing to go through any hardship,” she told the publication. “There’s a reason why only so many people get to this point, because you get tested a lot.

“Many times, I was close to giving up. I had to part ways with my partner, with producers, I’ve had (orders) canceled. It’s not about what you go through, it’s how you survive the situation and how you thrive after it. It’s a never-ending lesson,” she added.

The designer told the magazine that this year alone, her brand’s global sales revenue will total $55 million but added that after becoming an established shoes and accessories maker, her hardships have changed.

“It’s a matter of navigating and continuing no matter what,” she said.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by AMINA MUADDI (@aminamuaddi)

Muaddi launched her eponymous footwear line in August 2018, approximately one year after departing from her role as co-founder and creative director of luxury footwear label Oscar Tiye.

The shoemaker’s eponymous label’s distinct pumps, sling-backs, mules, boots and sandals in an array of vibrant colors and holographic designs have since garnered a loyal checklist of famous fans, including Dua Lipa, Gigi Hadid, Kylie Jenner and Hailey Bieber Baldwin.

She helped design the shoes for Rihanna’s Fenty collection. The collaboration was so successful that it received the Collaborator of the Year award at the 34th edition of the FN Achievement Awards.

In 2020, she debuted a range of jewelry and handbags and collaborated with Austrian brand Wolford on an exclusive 17-piece capsule collection of ready-to-wear looks in 2021.

In October 2021, she landed a spot on Women’s Wear Daily (WWD) and Footwear News’s 50 Most Powerful Women list.


Qatar Creates, CR Runway announce fashion show at FIFA World Cup

Qatar Creates, CR Runway announce fashion show at FIFA World Cup
Updated 28 November 2022

Qatar Creates, CR Runway announce fashion show at FIFA World Cup

Qatar Creates, CR Runway announce fashion show at FIFA World Cup

DUBAI: Qatar Creates and CR Runway announced a fashion show, featuring more than 150 designers from 50 countries, set to take place on Dec. 16 at the FIFA World Cup.

The event will feature performances by the likes of DJ Snake, Kadim Al-Sahir, Khaled, Nancy Ajram, Ozuna, Zakes Bantwini and more with the proceeds going to Education Above All, a Qatari charity that aims to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education for vulnerable and marginalized people, with a focus on the developing world.

A poster for the event. (Supplied)

Twenty-one Qatari brands will take part in the show, which will be made up of four choreographed runway presentations.

The show will feature an opening act with national ambassadors representing the 32 countries in the World Cup, all sporting customized jerseys. Then, two local Qatari brands — Aliya Al-Obaidly and Harlienz — will put on a performance entitled “Where the Sand Touches the Sea,” inspired by Qatar’s traditional practices of pearl diving.

The second act, titled “The Fashion World Tour,” will showcase works from designers from six continents. The third and final act, “One Night in Qatar,” will showcase haute couture and eveningwear created exclusively by international designers and brands for Qatar Fashion United by CR Runway.

The Qatar-based brands participating in the event are 1309, Al-Dukan, Aliya Al-Obaidly, Tamader Al-Sultan, Drizzle, Ghada Al-Buainain, Hairaat, Hamadis, Harlienz, Kaltham’s Pavilion, Lorenaa Michelle, Maryam Al-Darwish, Mhefhef, Muna Saad, Naila Al-Thani, Trzi, TIIYA, WAAD Designs, WADHA, Wit Noiz and Yasmin Mansour.


Bella Hadid shares behind-the-scenes snaps from Swarovski shoot

Bella Hadid shares behind-the-scenes snaps from Swarovski shoot
Updated 28 November 2022

Bella Hadid shares behind-the-scenes snaps from Swarovski shoot

Bella Hadid shares behind-the-scenes snaps from Swarovski shoot

DUBAI: US Palestinian Dutch supermodel Bella Hadid has given fans a behind-the-scenes look at her latest campaign for Austrian jewelry label Swarovski.

Hadid, who was announced as the label’s brand ambassador in May, took to Instagram to share photographs from the set of her latest shoot. In the snaps, the model is dressed as a bedazzled fairy, complete with a set of delicate wings.

The model shared behind-the-scenes shots from her latest shoot for Swarovski. (Instagram)

The 26-year-old catwalk star took to Instagram earlier this year to share the news of her brand ambassadorship with her 56.4 million followers, writing: “Extremely honored and excited to be the new face of the iconic Swarovski.”

“Bella Hadid sums up the individualistic and transformative attitude of a new global generation,” said Engelbert in a statement at the time. “She is a multifaceted character who evades the boxes of rules and conformity. She goes from sporty to glamorous while remaining the same girl — the same Bella — with confidence and authority.

“Today, crystals are a dynamic part of our everyday wardrobe: A way of accentuating your individual style in a way that can be as casual as it can be elaborate. Bella is the poster girl for this state of mind,” added Engelbert.

Meanwhile, Hadid said she was “very familiar” with the “timeless and iconic brand” before the partnership.

“I love the new collections and what the brand has been doing, especially these past two years under the creative vision of Giovanna, and I really see Swarovski as the contemporary jewelry brand of the future,” she said- in a released statement. “Jewelry is about expression and celebrating individuality — Swarovski celebrates all people and the idea of modern glamour, and I love that.”

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by SWAROVSKI (@swarovski)

 

Hadid was recently named British GQ magazine’s “most stylish person on the planet” for 2023 in a statement that mirrored Swarovski’s sentiments regarding the model’s ability to traverse various fashion styles and pull them off with aplomb.

The magazine commended Hadid for her  “ability to make menswear, womenswear, smartwear and even wavywear work.

“Hadid does menswear better than most men — and she can still wear everything and anything else. Tailoring. Prada loafers. Big denim jackets. There was even a tie at one point. It’s wavy, classic and uncomplicated all at once,” the magazine added.