Arabic Language Blog

Naguib El-Rehani (1889 – 1949) Posted by on Jan 21, 2016 in Arabic Language, Culture, Pronunciation, Vocabulary

    Ahlan أهــْــلاً, Arabic lovers! As Google celebrated today the 127th birthday of Naguib El-Rehani نجيب الريحاني, I thought it might be interesting to write about his legacy especially for those of you who have never heard of him. Naguib El-Rehani was a famous Egyptian actor and comedian. He is considered the Father of Comedy زعيم مسرح الفكاهة in Egypt. He had a great influence on many famous modern Egyptian comedians.

Google celebrating El-Rehani's 127 Birthday

Google celebrating El-Rehani’s 127 Birthday

Birth and Early Childhood:

   Elias El-Rehani was a catholic Iraqi who was a horse expert and trader. He finally settled in Cairo where he married a Christian Egyptian woman. They had three sons and one of them was Naguib. So, Naguib Elias El-Rehani was born on January 21, 1889 in Bab El-Sheriyah باب الشعرية, a popular district of Cairo. Naguib went to a French primary school in Cairo named “Les Frères” which enabled him to master the French language.

    When Naguib finished his High School (The baccalauréat شهادة البكالوريا), his father’s trade was not doing very well so Naguib didn’t finish his studies and searched for work to support his family. Naguib was a shy boy but also was very sarcastic like his mother. He used to make fun of the social contradictions in many situations. Although he managed to get a good job with good money in a reputable sugar company in Upper Egypt صعيد مصر, he was not satisfied and resigned. He moved back to Cairo where he started his artistic career.

Artistic Career:

    In a famous street in Cairo, Naguib met one of his friends and agreed to start a theatre group that presents comedy sketches in night clubs. That was the start of Naguib El-Rehani. His most works was to the theater and was not videotaped that is why most of them did not reach us like his later works for the cinema. There are six films for Naguib El-Rehani that critics consider as one of the deepest ironic and sarcastic serious farces in the Arabian cinema. El-Rehani was known by many names of the characters he presented in his films like “كشكش بيه Mr. Kishkish”. He worked with the giants of the Egyptian theater and cinema. He also wrote many works some of which were made into films after his death. Naguib El-Rehani died on June 8, 1949 while he was shooting his last film “غزل البنات Ghazal El-Banat”.

Marriage and wives:

    Naguib El-Rehani married the Syrian actress and dancer بديعة مصابني Badi’a Masabni. He established her cabaret; “Casino Badi’a كازينو بديعة“. Their marriage was full of ups and downs till they divorced. They did not have children. Then, It is said that he married a German woman and had a daughter called Jeana.


Naguib and his best friend Badie Khairi بديع خيري produced 33 plays for the theater that mostly were adapted from the French theater. El-Rehani resigned from the theater in 1946. Here is a list of some of his plays:

  • الجنيه المصري (The Egyptian Pound) (1931)
  • الدنيا لما تضحك (When Life Laughs) (1934)
  • الستات ما يعرفوش يكدبوا (Women Can’t Tell Lies)
  • حكم قراقوش (The Reign of Qaraqoush) (1936)
  • قسمتي (My Destiny) (1936)
  • الرجالة ما يعرفوش يكدبوا (Men Can’t Tell Lies)
  • كشكش بك فى باريس (Mr. Kishkish in Paris)
  • حسن و مرقص و كوهين (Hassan, Marcus and Cohen) (1945)
  • أم أحمد  (Mother of Ahmad)
  • حماتك تحبك (Your Mother-in-Law Loves You)
  • الفلوس (Money)
  • مملكة الحب (Kingdom of Love)


    Towards the end of his life, Naguib El-Rehani focused more on the cinema producing 10 films. The character of Mr. Kishkish was present in all these films.

  • صاحب السعادة كشكش بيه (His Highness Mr Kishkish) (1931)
  • حوادث كشكش بيه (Mr Kishkish’s Anecdotes) (1934)
  • ياقوت أفندي (Mr. Yaqout) (1934)
  • لعبة الست (The Madam’s Doll) (1946)
  • سي عمر (Mr. Omar) (1941)
  • أحمر شفايف (Red Lipstick) (1946)
  • غزل البنات (The Girls’ Flirtation) (1949)

   Naguib El-Rehani was not just a comedian who made us laugh, but also he was a real talented artist who gave his life to his career. He showed us the very details of his society and gave us a great life experience for the art of Drama. He is the founder of critical comedy in Egypt and the Arab world.


Check us back Soon!

Peace سلام  /Salam/

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About the Author: Fisal

Well, I was born near the city of Rasheed or Rosetta, Egypt. Yes, the city where the Rosetta Stone was discovered. It is a small city on the north of Egypt where the Nile meets the Mediterranean. I am a Teacher of EFL.