It was, however, her musical talent as a singer that established Shadia as one of the most important Egyptian cinema stars of her era. She starred with actor Kamal EShinawy in more than 30 films, and sang opposite Farid al-Atrache and Abdel Halim Hafez —most notably in The People’s Idol (Rafla, 1967). She appeared with Faten Hamama in An Appointment with Life (Ezzedine Zulficar, 1954), while in The Unknown Woman (Mahmoud Zulficar, 1959), she plays the role of Fatma in a heavy melodrama in which she faces a series of tragedies and injustices, commits murder, and is defended in court by her estranged son; she also played the good-hearted seductress who takes in a fugitive in The Thief and the Dogs (Kamal E1-Sheikh, 1962). Shadia likewise performed strongly in comedy roles, most notably in Wife Number 13 (Fatin Abdel-Wahab, 1962) and My Wife the General Manager (Abdel-Wahab, 1966). Although often cast in cunning and cheeky roles, Shadia’s features could adopt serious, melodramatic expression.
In The Road (Zulficar, 1964), while Soad Hosni played the young, naive desk clerk who falls in love with Saber (Rushdi Abaza), Shadia took on the role of his mistress who sneaks to his room while her elderly husband sleeps. She also played Sakina opposite actress Soheir El Bably in the stage version of Raya and Sakina, based on the true story of two Alexandrian serial killers and directed by Hussein Kama (The 1953 film version directed by Salah Abu Seif is heralded as a classic of Egyptian cinema.) Shadia performed in more than 100 films before she retired from the public eye and joined a number of actresses who took on the veil (hijab) in an act of Islamic resistance and salvation. Shadia is considered one of the most popular and most talented singers and actresses in the Arabic movie and entertainment industry. Her songs and movies are still sought after, and her songs are popular amongst all generations. Shadia was the closest to her viewers and closest to the heart of the masses. She was a genius at being humorous, spontaneous, and distancing herself from tradition, norm and mediocrity. However, looking back at the movies she had made so far, she realized that she was being typecast as the nice cute, mischievous girl.
She, therefore, started producing her own movies. She went on looking for movies that have good causes and a message to deliver, and at the same time, show her huge acting abilities and talents. She did not care about spending her life savings if it gave her the chance to make better movies. Her parts in movies started to get deeper and more meaningful.
As a result, she managed to get the main role in the movie "The unknown/anonymous Woman" ( المرأة المجهولة ) which became a huge success in the Middle East and the Soviet Union. This movie established her as a more mature actress. After that, any movie that Shadia would star in was destined to be a huge success. You could easily say that she was one of Egypt's biggest stars ever, and that she is her "Fans' Idol" Maa'boodat Al Gamaheer (معبودة الجماهير). Read more on Last.fm.
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