Kouka (1955) كوكا

This is actress. singer and occasional dancer Kouka (1917-1979) in a scene from the 1955 Egyptian film ‘A Glass and a Cigarette’(سيجارة وكاس‎‎). The title of the film is reversed in Arabic and titled ‘Sigarah wa Kas’.
Born in 1917 in Sudan as Najia Ibrahim Bilal, Kouka went to Cairo where she became part of the troupe formed by Youssef Wahbi the famous Egyptian actor. She eventually was hired as a movie editor by Studio Misr but that same year she made her screen debut opposite Ali al Kassar. She appeared opposite US singer Paul Robeson in the 1937 British drama ‘Jericho’ which is also known as ‘Dark Sands’
In this film Kouka plays Azza, the best friend of the film’s main character Huda played by Samia Gamal. Samia Gamal’s character is a famous dancer who marries Mamdouh, played by Nabil el Alfi. Huda retires from dancing and helps Mamdouh set up a hospital. The head nurse Yolanda (Dalida) also has her sights on Mamdouh and Huda starts to believe that they’re having an affair. Huda returns to drinking and smoking.
Sadly, the film’s co-star Dalida took her own life in 1987.
Trivia: I understand that bellydancer Nemat Mokhtar married Kouka’s husband the Egyptian film director Niazi Mustafa (1911-1986) who was a infamous womanizer. In a ‘her or me’ situation Kouka made Niazi Mustafa chose and Nemat Mokhtar was quietly divorced. Niazi Mustafa was murdered in 1986.

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