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Mohammad Ali Fardin (1930 – 2000)

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Mohammad Ali Fardin

A former wrestling champion, Fardin was the biggest star in Iran’s cinema during the 1960s and early 1970s. He acted and sometimes directed films in the luti genre, playing the proletarian rogue with the heart of gold, who rejects Westernization and materialism yet does not challenge the status quo (Champion of Champions [Siamak Yasami, 1965]; The Treasures of Gharun [Yasami, 1965]). He made only one film after the Iranian Revolution of 1979: The Damned (Iraj Qaderi, 1982), an attempt to update the luti character in the newly installed Islamic Republic and in the context of the war with Iraq. Banned from further film acting along with many other prerevolutionary actors, Fardin nevertheless stayed in Iran, where the “King of Hearts,” as he was affectionately known after his 1968 film of that name, remained popular; his funeral in central Tehran attracted a crowd estimated at 20,000.

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