DUBAI: It has been five years since Kinda Alloush, one of the most popular actresses in the Arab world, decided to take an extended break for the first time in her career. She had dominated Syrian television for a decade, then Egyptian cinema and television for the next, but Alloush had found, at the height of her fame, something that mattered most: the chance to start a family. with her husband, Egyptian actor Amr Youssef.
Alloush, 39 and now a mother to a 3-year-old daughter named Hayat, has since returned to the big and small screens, but while still as popular as ever, the Syrian superstar is no longer the same person she was. was in the final phase of her acting journey. With every project she takes on now, Alloush yearns for more and she’s tired of playing it safe.
“For a long time I played roles that looked a lot alike. I don’t know why – maybe I fit a type. Maybe that’s my face,” said Alloush, who has long played the “nice girl”, to Arab News.
“Now I don’t just want to add a new movie to my archive, I don’t just want to say ‘I made a new movie, it’s so successful, I’m so happy.’ That’s not what I’m looking for. What I’m looking for is learning. It’s about how to really make you richer on a human level, not just on an acting level. I want to go back in my country and feel like I am a different person now,” Alloush continues.
Each role she’s taken since her acting hiatus has pushed her in a different direction, stretching muscles — physical, mental and spiritual — she didn’t know she had. Currently, she is filming “Yellow Bus” in Abu Dhabi, an OSN Original about an Indian girl who disappears after falling asleep on a school bus, and the search for her mother to find out the truth. Alloush plays Mira, the headmistress of the missing girl’s school.
“I read maybe 10 pages of the script before I knew I had to be in this movie. It’s a human story that could have happened anywhere in the world. I assure you that if anyone watches this movie, he will feel the pain that this family felt. And that’s what happened to me; I felt the pain, I felt every detail written in this movie. And I felt that I wanted in be a part, no matter how busy my schedule was,” Alloush says.
The film also offers Alloush something none of his previous works have – the chance to act in a different language with a multicultural cast featuring Bollywood stars Tannishtha Chatterjee and Amit Sial as well as an American director. to Wendy Bednarz.
“It’s the first time I’ve played in English. I’ve been doing this for over 17 years in Syria and Egypt, but all my projects were in Arabic. I’ve been speaking English for a long time, but it’s different to act in English rather than just speaking it. You must be so real. I need to make you believe, to make you feel what I feel. And pushing myself to do it, in front of these incredible actors from different backgrounds and styles, makes it such a rich and empowering experience,” says Alloush.
And with Mira, Alloush finally plays against type, ditching her “good girl” persona.
“Mira is really different. It’s a bit controversial. You can’t really put your finger on it. You have to finish the movie before you get a full view of its many layers. At first, you’ll wonder, ‘Why did she react like that? Why did she do that?’ And your curiosity pays off as you learn more about its history. She’s so different from any person I’ve ever been in.
Alloush, who already has 10 million followers on Instagram, will also soon be introduced to a wider audience than ever before when she stars in the upcoming Netflix Original movie ‘The Swimmers’, based on the real-life story of Sara and Yusra. Mardini, the famous Syrian refugees turned Olympians. The film was written by BAFTA winner Jack Thorne and directed by Egyptian filmmaker Sally El-Hosaini.
“‘The Swimmers’ is so interesting, because everything is true to life, with all the characters still alive, including these two famous swimmers. Although my character is purely Syrian, working with German actor Matthias Schweighöfer, the Palestinian Ali Suliman and Egyptian Ahmed Malek also brought a real multicultural spirit to the project, which was also a rich experience,” says Alloush.
While Alloush moved to Egypt just at the start of the Syrian civil war, the actress has devoted much of her free time to the refugee cause ever since, becoming a ‘high profile supporter’ of the UN High Commissioner’s Office. United for Refugees. In another upcoming film, titled “Nuzooh” (Displacement), Alloush will address the trauma of the country’s civil war, giving perhaps the most heartbreaking experience of his career.
“It’s about a Syrian family, and it’s a very difficult and sensitive subject. We shot it in Turkey,” she says. “Even though I come from Syria, I did not experience the war in Syria. With this film that I have just finished, I had the impression of experiencing the war in its smallest details. It was a truly difficult experience unlike any I have had.
As Alloush tests her limits as an actress, she has never been more fulfilled by her craft.
“I collect experiences. When I enter a new project, I feel empty and I want to fill myself in a certain way – to learn, to listen, to talk to people from a different culture,” she says. “I am driven by passion. Maybe other people have a different approach, but for me it’s about love. I want it to make me richer on a human level. And it works. »
With each of her three upcoming films, she hopes audiences can get as much out of them as she does.
“With a great film, you feel like you’ve traveled to another civilization. With this job, I can take you there. I can open your eyes to a new horizon, a new space and new stories that you you’ve never heard of, and people you’ve never met,” Alloush says. “Each of these (films) can do it, I believe.”