A legend of the golden age of Egyptian cinema.
On this fine November day, Egyptians all over will be remembering the late Hind Rostom, dubbed the First Lady of Egyptian Cinema, on what would have been her 87th birthday, and it’s a pleasant surprise to see Google getting in on the reminiscing, featuring an illustration of “Marilyn Monroe of the Orient” in her dazzling finger-waves hairdo, which will be visible on Google.com across the whole MENA region.
For those too young to remember (or simply been living under a rock), the Egyptian cinema legend featured in over 80 films throughout her career, with her most iconic role probably being a lemonade vendor in Youssef Chahine’s Cairo Station in 1958.
Hind Rostom had quite an interesting career; at first, film producers were not exactly crazy about casting her due to her not having typical Egyptian features. But their minds soon changed, and she began being casted as the “poor/helpless” girl, but soon went on to be cast in many different roles as she showed that she was a unique actress with amazing abilities to deliver a diverse range of emotions.
She was given the nickname the Marilyn Monroe of the Orient due to her striking facial features and trademark blonde locks, and was the object of admiration of many fans who emulated her look and style. With her role in Cairo Station, her homage to those on the margins of society put her firmly in the hearts of Egyptians, and her face became a meme across Egyptian streets during the Arab Spring.
“Despite being dubbed the Arab Monroe, Rostom was a screen siren who did not resort to nudity, nor did she indulge in any affairs. She was respectable”, said Joseph Fahim, Egyptian film critic.
Known for her strong personality, Rostom was once offered over a million Egyptian pounds for her life story to be turned into a television drama series, but she refused, famously saying: “My life is not for sale”.
Her final film appearance came nearly 40 years in 1979, playing a mature mother in Ali Reda’s “My life is agony”, though she was still at the peak of her career.