Love in the Golden Age of Cinema: Egypt’s Iconic On-Screen Couple
For this Valentine’s Day, here are our favourite on-screen couples whose presence left an indelible mark on our teenage hearts.
Stolen glances and slow-burn romances. When growing up in an Egyptian household, it’s inevitable our earliest recollections of love intertwine with the classic romantic comedies of the golden age of cinema. Perhaps it was these on-screen couples’ unyielding love that helped shape our romantic ideal. Or perhaps the male lead’s resolute sacrifice to save his lover became the catalyst behind our current high expectations - and, subsequently, our single status.
As we approach Valentine’s Day, we find ourselves reminiscing about THAT kind of true love (that’s now long gone). We’ve curated a list of the most romantic celebrity couples whose presence left an indelible mark on our teenage hearts, from Omar El Sherif and Faten Hamama’s amour fou to the timeless chemistry of Poussy and Nour El-Sherif. Proceed with caution if you have been diagnosed with lovesickness…
Faten Hamama & Omar El-Sherif
From the moment they shared a kiss on the screen in the feature film ‘Siraa Fil Wadi’, directed by the late renowned filmmaker Youssef Chahine, the duo have since been captivating regional and global audiences with their charismatic presence. They co-starred in some of the best films of the golden age of Arab cinema, preserving scenes from a fairy tale love story that lasted over 20 years and defied religious barriers. In 1974, the two icons sadly divorced. While ‘The Lady of the Arab Screen’ remarried, Omar El-Sherif never did.
Shwikar & Fouad El Mohandes
The duo ‘Fouad and Shwikar’ was one of the most famous comedic duos in Arab cinema and theatre. After meeting for the first time during the performance of the play ‘El Secerteair El Fani’, Fouad asked Shwikar for marriage during the performance of the famous comedic play ‘Ana W Hwa W Heya’. Their marriage lasted for 20 years. After their divorce, they continued to be inseparable on stage and on television, working on plays like ‘Rawhia Etkhatafet’ and ‘Meraty Takreban’, as well as the series ‘Ahlam El-Ankabot’.
Adel Imam & Youssra
Ever the power couple on-screen, Egyptian television veterans Yousra and Adel Imam have long shared the silver screen in multiple childhood favourite classics, including ‘Omaret Yacoubian’, ‘El Ens W El Jiin’ and ‘Bobos’.
Poussy & Nour El-Sherif
Famed for their on-screen roles in the heartbreaker ‘Habibi Da’eman’, the duo showed us what it means to love unconditionally and devote your life to your loved one. We don’t know about you but we will be unabashedly ugly sobbing to that movie with a glass of wine this Wednesday night.
Mervat Amin & Hussein Fahmy
Shortly after their first meeting on the set of the 1978 classic ‘Mokalma Ba’ad Montasaf El Leil’, the duo got married. During their marriage, which lasted 12 years, the couple blessed our screen with various films such as ‘Regal La Ya’arefoun El Hob’, ‘El-Ekhwa El A’adaa’, and ‘A’la Gesr El Zahab’.
Shadia & Salah Zou El Fakar
The pair married in 1964, after announcing their relationship during the filming of the classic ‘Aghala Mn Hayaty’, which was their second appearance together on the screen following ‘A’yon Sahrana’ in 1957. Their captivating chemistry garnered them a loyal fanbase in Egyptian cinema and beyond. Sahdia and Zou El Fakar later shared the screen in some of the best rom-coms in Egyptian cinema, including ‘Meraty Modeer A’am’, ‘Zawgty’ and ‘A’afreet Meraty’, becoming the ultimate ‘IT’ couple.
Roushdy Abaza & Sabah
Though the late renowned Egyptian actor Roushdy Abaza married multiple times, his quite brief (and by brief we mean 24 hours, quite literally) marriage to Samah seemed to be the amongst the most memorable, funnily enough. The duo’s chemistry truly took centre stage in ‘Kanat Ayam’.
Magda & Ehab Nafea’
Having captured our hearts with their charismatic presence and lovey-dovey interactions in the classic 1963 rom-com ‘El Hakeka El A’areya’, Magda and Ehab were actually married for four years.
Ahmed Ramzy & Hend Rostom
To watch the Marlyin Monroe of Egyptian cinema, Hend Rostom and Ahmed Ramzy on the screen is too good to be true. The duo got really hot and heavy (well, as cinema back then would allow it) in the classic comedy ‘Ibn Hamidu’.
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