Khartoum — Actor Ali Mahdi who co-starred the Wedding of Zein with actress Tahiya Zarroug is a significant figure in the Khartoum events with his towering height, his long, dangling and bushy moustache and his look-alike Sufi dervishes green and red costumes.
Mahdi's name had, for many years back, been associated with representing Sudan in international forums and with obtaining prizes and positions during his participation in those forums.
He was elected general secretary of the Arab Artists Federation, won the UNESCO Arab Culture Prize, Sharja 2011 for his role in promoting dialogue between Arabic culture and cultures of the world, became the UNESCO Artist for Peace in 2012 and assumed the office of the general secretary of the International Theatre Institute.
At home Mahdi had launched the Centre for Theatre in Conflict Zones with the aim of exploiting drama performance for helping the conflict-affected young persons, in Darfur particularly, to accept reconciliation, peace and reintegration into the society.
As well, he had launched the Buqaa International Theatre in Omdurman here that continued to present plays by local and foreign troupes since 2000.
Mahdi is also active in childcare and has continued to look after destitute and homeless children for decades as Sudan director of SOS Children's Villages International.
However, his role in the film "the Wedding of Zein" had always been a source of major pride for Mahdi.
Asked in a recent interview about the biggest prize he had won so far, he said "the satisfaction of novelist Tayib Salih with my role in the Wedding of Zein."
And asked about the happiest day of his life, he said " the day the Wedding of Zein was presented during the Cannes Film Festival in France."