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Photo of Shira

 

 

PHOTO CREDIT: Above photo by John Rickman Photography, San Jose, California.

Samia Gamal Interviewed by Tarek 7abeb

 

Translated by Priscilla Adum

 

 

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Introduction

Note from the translator:

In her later years, Samia Gamal granted a rare televised interview to Tarek 7abeb. The subject is Farid al-Atrache.

The video clip of this interview that was posted online did not identify the date the program was aired. We do know that it would have been after Farid al-Atrache died (December 26, 1974), because Samia and the interviewer talk about his death in this interview. My guess is that the interview probably took place in the mid-to-late 1970's.

Samia Gamal

 

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Interview

As Tarek and Samia listen to the song "Habib el Omr" ("The Love of Your Life") Tarek asks her......

TAREK: Is it true that Farid was the love of your life? 

SAMIA: Yes. It's true. And the people who were close to us said it too. He still lives in our hearts. 

TAREK: When did you first meet Farid?

SAMIA: Four years before we met, I heard his voice on the radio, and I loved his voice. Then, in 1940 I found a magazine with a picture of Farid in it, so I bought 10 copies of this issue. Later, while I was training at the casino, I asked a young 4-year-old boy to tell me whose picture that was in the magazine because I loved Farid's name and I wanted to hear him say it. But the little boy didn't answer me, and I heard a voice behind me.... "The picture is of me" ....and when I turned around I saw that it was Farid and I immediately fainted and fell to the floor. 

[ABOUT THE PHOTO: Samia Gamal with Farid al-Atrache in the final scene of the movie Habib el-Omr (Love of a Lifetime).]

TAREK: When was your first work meeting with Farid?

SAMIA: It was in his first movie (Intesar el-Shabab, The Victory of Youth) I heard that Farid was going to make this movie, so I saved money. I was earning 20 piasters per day at that time from my work (that's 6 pounds per month). I bought some flowers and went to Nacibean Studio where they were filming the movie to say congratulations to Farid on his first movie. But when Farid saw me, he told his people to take me and make me up so that I could be in the movie. I said, "No, no... I've never worked in cinema before and I dont know anything," but when they told me that I'd be next to Farid in the movie then I accepted at once. And this was the first time I was ever in a move with Farid.

TAREK: What is the song that Farid sang that you feel he sang especially for you?

SAMIA: It's the song "Habib el 3omr".

Samia Gamal and Farid al-Atrache

TAREK: And what song did Farid sing after you left each other that you felt he sang especially for you?

SAMIA: [Laughs] It's the song "Ana Cont Fakrak Malak .Atare 7obek Halak" which means "I Thought You Were An Angel But Your Love Destoyed Me".
[Samia adds] In fact, our splitting up was neither my fault nor his fault. 

TAREK: When was the last time you saw Farid el Atrash?

SAMIA: It was about a month and a half before his death. It was at a party for actors and actresses, and we ran into each other. I was very happy to run into Farid because he is a part of me. He said to me, "I feel bad and depressed and I have a feeling that something is going to happen because I lost the Quran that I always keep with me." So I told him, "Don't worry... I can buy you another one tomorrow!" But he said to me, "The one I lost is the one that you gave me in 1942, and it's always been with me this whole time. I have a bad feeling about losing it."

As it turns out, a month and a half later he was dead.

Samia Gamal and Farid al-Atrache

 

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Related Articles

Samia on Stage and Screen

Non-Dance Projects

Personal Life

Interviews

 

 

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About the Translator

Priscilla is a dancer of Lebanese heritage who enjoys researching the Golden Era of Egyptian dance. She owns a collection of more than one hundred classic black and white Egyptian films which is continually expanding.

Priscilla has also gathered a large library of dance related articles and clippings from Middle Eastern magazines and newspapers, many of which she has translated from the original Arabic to both English and Spanish.

Priscilla currently resides in Central America where she is a dance instructor. 

Priscilla

 

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