Egyptian director Mazen Al Jabaly has commenced shooting his latest project, based on the life of the legendary Egyptian singer Farid El Atrash.
Al Rabieh (The Spring), a story written by Rafiq Al Siban, depicts the life of the late Atrash, whose character will be played by Syrian actor Majd Al Qassem.
According to the ‘Al Khaleej’ newspaper in the UAE, Qassem said that the process of convincing Atrash’s family to reveal private information on the singer was difficult.
Al Atrash’s nephew, Faisal Al Atrash, was the most adamant of the opponents to the idea.
Both a singer and an actor, Qassem said that he had to travel to Syria in order to fix these problems and negotiate with the involved parties.
Finally, after various talks, Qassem was given approval subject to numerous stringent conditions.
First, Qassem is not to allow any political events of the era interfere with the story line of Al Atrash.
Also, the actor is not allowed to depict the private personal life of the late mega-star.
However, the most important restriction of all is that the movie should not focus in any way on Al Atrash’s famous sister, Asmahan.
Asmahan was a promising songstress, who was able to infiltrate into Egypt’s diplomatic circles with uncanny ease.
Throughout her life, Asmahan was charged with being an agent for Britain and France at the same time!
However, the actress’s life was cut short when she had a fatal car accident.
Meanwhile, a Gulf company has taken on the job of producing and overseeing the movie.
The company is controlled by Arabs with interests in cinema and Farid El Atrash.
The movie, which will take 5 consecutive weeks to film has to date been allocated a budget of 11 million Egyptian pounds.
Locations will include Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Tunisia and many other countries.
Aside from Qassem, the movie’s cast includes Syrian, Lebanese and Egyptian actors, who will depict the important influences on the life of the late singer.
Included in the cast is the famous Egyptian oriental dancer, Samia Jamal, who plays the role of another dancer ‘Safwa.’
Meanwhile, Syrian actress Amal Arafa will play the role of Lebanese songstress Sabah, Ahmad Shaker takes on the character of Anwar Wajdi while Tunisian songstress Sofia Sadeq will portray Nour El Huda.
Lebanese singer Julia Butrus has been cast as Atrash’s sister, Ghada Ibrahim plays Shadia and Syrian singer Mahjoub will act alongside his brother Qassem as Mohammad Fawzi, who was a close friend of Atrash.
The movie will focus mostly on Atrash’s influence on Arab music and its history.
A double treat for fans will be the Atrash’s most celebrated compositions which have been chosen as the music for the movie,.
Majd will sing Al Rabieh (Spring), Jamil Jamal (Beautiful Beauty), Ish Inta (You Live).
The movie will also feature some of Atrash’s original recordings - Albawaba.com.
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