It may be hard to understand the Fairouz-mania that hits people every time the lady shows up for a concert, let alone a remake of one of her most popular plays. This is a phenomenon that cannot be explained, only accepted.

Fairouz is a very conservative person who has made very few public appearances in her life and has only given a few
interviews. The only way to see the larger-than-life singer is to attend one of her live performances.

This is why it was no wonder that the Sharjah University auditorium was packed on Friday for the first of five scheduled performances of Sah Al Noum.


For about two hours, Fairouz, accompanied by Antoine Kerbaje and some of the best artists in Lebanon, charmed people with her performance and songs. The 73-year-old singer became Krunful, the young girl whose house is destroyed in a storm, and who needs the governor's stamp on her request to fix her leaking roof.

Yet the sleepy governor only wakes up and meets people once a month, and only stamps three random applications. When he repeatedly fails to stamp Krunful's application, the girl fears that the approaching winter will not be merciful. She steals the stamp, and not only stamps her request, but those of all the villagers before throwing the stamp in an old well.

The fate of the daring girl is not a secret, since the play is about 40 years old, but UAE residents have a chance to rediscover it and enjoy the timeless play, which runs daily until Tuesday.

Hunting for Fairuz

Gulf News staff photographer Ahmed Ramzan recounts his efforts to get a picture of the elusive Fairuz.

I was given an assignment by the Gulf News photo desk to take pictures of Fairuz on April 30. She is staying at the Sharjah Millennium Hotel, and I wanted to take a picture of her coming out of the hotel.

I reached the hotel at 1.30pm and waited for her to come out. She left the hotel at 3.20pm — but at the same time I was
inside the hotel checking if she was in the lobby or if she had any security with her.

I managed to follow Fairuz's car until she reached Sharjah University Hall, in Sharjah University City, for the rehearsals of her musical, Sah Al Noum, but I could not get in as it was risky for me to follow them all the way to the hall entrance. I waited outside until she finished her rehearsal at 7.10pm. At that time it was too dark outside to take pictures and the driver of her car was driving so fast that I couldn't follow them. They didn't head for the hotel, but took a different route.

Day two

I was given the same assignment the following day. I reached the hotel at 1.45pm and again waited for Fairuz to come out. I went to the lobby without my camera, just to see what the situation was and if there were any security or police. There was nothing there. Everything was normal. I went back to the car again and was just waiting and planning for my pictures.

While sitting there, the hotel security suddenly came up to my car and knocked on the window. They asked me what I had been doing in front of the hotel for the last two hours and what I was waiting for. I was honest with them and I told them that I was from Gulf News and was here to take pictures of Fairuz.

They told me that if I wanted to take pictures I must get permission from the hotel management or the organisers. They asked for my ID card and told me that the police and Criminal Investigation Department had been watching me for the last hour and a half. He then asked me to leave before they came up to me or took away my camera.

I told the hotel security that I wanted to talk to my office and then I would leave. While I was on the phone to my office, a
policeman came up to me and asked me if I was the one who was planning to take pictures. He told me that they had asked Fairuz for pictures, and that the decision is from her side.

They said that it is their duty not to allow anyone to take her picture. Other journalists came, but she always refuses. “Please leave", the policeman told me."We don't want to create any problems for you".