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Tamarind (1957)
"Tamr henna" (original title)

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A young man arranges for the transformation of a Ghawazee (Gypsy) woman into a society lady.


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Credited cast:
Ahmed Ramzy ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Rushdy Abaza ...
Fayza Ahmed ...
Naima Akef ...
Tamra Henna
Zeinat Sedki


In a plot centered around society class struggles, the Ghawazee (Gypsy) dancer named Tamra Henna captures the eye of a rich young man named Ahmed, who decides to use his resources to transfer her into a society woman. His jealous cousin/fiancée and Tamra Henna's fiancé scheme together to expose her for what she is in front of her new society friends. Written by Julie Elliot (Shira)

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A great Egyptian classic
19 September 2006 | by (Roseville, Minnesota, USA) – See all my reviews

Tamr Henna is an enduring Egyptian classic feature many prominent names from that era. Rushdy Abaaza was one of the most popular and accomplished actors of his time and Naima Akef a legendary and extremely gifted dancer. The story of a young Ghaziya (an Egyptian Gypsy) who want's the finer things and life. She dances at the mawlids( a saint's day celebration in Egypt which is part of the Shi'ite tradition) near her betrothed's booth which is a strength testing booth. Although normally he does not feel threatened there is one man who seems to threaten his relationship with Tamr Henna. He's the rich son of a wealthy family and is engaged to his rich cousin because his father wishes to gain more wealth and land. However the son does not wish to marry his cousin for he has fallen in love with Tamr Henna the Ghaziya from the mawlid. His wealth attracts Tamr Henna's attention and eventually she pretends to be a wealthy niece of a friend of the son's family. She charms the father so much that he decides to seek her hand in marriage so that his son and him will both marry wealthy women and greatly increase their wealth and status. However things go wrong and in the end Tamr Henna realizes she does not need the wealth and was better of as a poor Ghaziya with the love of her poor Ghawazee tribe. This movie is a great drama but if viewed by an American audience it may seem a little shocking. Things to remember about the movie is that it is rather old depicting values of a long ago more traditionalist Arab culture. The types of events depicted here are dwindling out with great speed in modern Egypt and other Arab countries. Also, the movie deals with the Ghawazee Gypsies of Egypt who are treated as Gypsies have always been treated, as the scum of the earth. Lowlife, thieving, sinful people. This immense social contrast to the upper class elite is much of what the story deals with. It's important to remember that even American movies from this era were more conservative in their content just as were these Arabic movies from the same era. Finally on another note in Arab culture as well as many other cultures around the world it is not looked on as wrong to marry one's cousin and it was a common practice to keep wealth in the family and protect the social status and name. Keep an open mind when watching it. Also make sure you get a copy with Subtitles as it will make it easier to follow.

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