Report By Darius KADIVAR
Giants Meet: Googoosh and Farah ©Farah Pahlavi
Each in their own right have reigned upon our hearts and lives for decades. They represent the two quintessential living icons that all Iranian girls have aspired to for generations and Iranian boys have dreamed of as mother, wife, or mistress (*) : Googoosh the Pop Star of pre-revolution Iran, the symbol of emancipation of the Iranian Women under the Pahlavi Rule and whose tremendous voice and charisma propelled her into the limelight of success and popularity never equaled by any other Iranian female celebrity. Shahbanou Farah Pahlavi was the shy Paris Art Student whose Cinderella like destiny was to become the very first Crowned Queen of the 2500 years old Persian Monarchy.
Queen of Hearts: Googoosh and Shahbanou Farah
Both Giants have lived up to their
public image despite highs and lows of life and destiny. The Queen of Iran was
the most respected and widely photographed women of the 20th Century.
Host to the Persepolis Celebrations of October 1971 and happily married to one
the mightiest rulers of the World, her role was not just symbolic. She was
deeply involved in social and cultural activities and missions throughout her
reign and was to become the muse of Western Artists worldwide. (**) Googoosh’s
talents were to be noticed beyond Iranian frontiers by the end of the 70’s and
she was awarded in
Googoosh offers her latest album to the Empress in the 1970’s ©Iranian.com
As for all people in the public eye
be it celebrities or Royals, Googoosh and the Shahbanou’s lives have always been
under scrutiny by the press. Unconfirmed rumors of all sorts were circulating
over the years as to why Googoosh and the Empress were not seen together in
public since the Diva’s return from
In the Star’s lounge : ( Left to Right ) Princess Farahnaz, Shahbanou Farah,
Googoosh, and Princess Iman 2nd daughter of Crown Prince Reza © Farah Pahlavi
The tragic death of Princess Leila
the youngest daughter of the Empress which was followed by the unexpected
terrorist attacks of September 11Th, and the visa restrictions
imposed on all Iranian expats in the aftermath of this attack could explain why
this encounter did not take place earlier. The Shahbanou and Googoosh were
equally subject to these restrictions due to the simple fact that neither had an
American Passport. One or two of Googoosh’s concerts in the US were simply
canceled as for the Empress, whose children and grandchildren reside in the US,
she was also subject to humiliating visa controls at both American and Canadian
Airports by security officers who simply would ignore her rank and identity as
former Empress of Iran.
Fan kisses the Shahbanou during the Concert of Googoosh at the
Princess Iman just behind © Farah Pahlavi
It was finally thanks to a common contact that the Empress’ office and that of Googoosh were to be put into contact with one another, and that the decision to organize the much expected meeting was to be taken.
The thousands of fans, packed at the Legendary Madison Square Garden Concert Hall on the evening of Oct. 21st 2006 could hardly believe their eyes when seeing Googoosh and Mehrdad announce the arrival and presence of the Pahlavi Family : The Shahbanou, her daughter Princess Farahnaz and her second granddaughter Princess Iman ( for whom it was certainly the very first public appearance before a huge crowd of compatriots). The Crowd greeted the Royals with deep enthusiasm, cheers and claps as the Shahbanou responded with a bow of acknowledgment to her compatriots. After the concert the Royal Family was also warmly greeted by fans in the crowd who kissed them affectionately and asked for autographs.
Left to Right: Princess Farahnaz, Shahbanou Farah and Dr. Shahrokh Ahkami
who organized the meeting between the Royal Family and Googoosh.
Towards the end of the Concert Googoosh and Mehrdad put up the Iranian Flag with Sun and Lion and were cheered by a standing ovation. The meeting between the two giants and their close friends and family would finally take place in the Star’s Lounge and was a very emotional and nostalgic meeting for all people present. The Persian Diva and the Shahbanou hugged one another warmly and posed for the photographers.
End of Concert : Googoosh and Mehrdad Salut the Royal Family and Hold
the Iranian Sun and Lion Flag under a standing ovation. © Farah Pahlavi
Nearly 30 years had separated their
last meeting. Googoosh had performed many times for the Royal Family and was a
favorite of the Pahlavi children. And they were to recall the party given for
the Crown Prince’s Birthday in 1977 during which Googoosh was to sing a
memorable “Tavalodat Mobarak” aka Happy Birthday tune to
Googoosh sings (video clip here) at a private party attended by the royal family,
including a young Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi shaking his head to the beat (1977).
It was high time for the third generation of the family to be presented to Googoosh in the person of an enthusiastic and fast growing Princess Iman.
The Press was conveyed to retire and the Diva and Royal Family were to spend time together in Private.
Nostalgia and mutual respect between the two major Female Iranian Icons of 20th Century was to mark this unique evening. Lets hope their will be more occasions like this in the future, maybe one day even in Iran, who knows ? …
Author’s Notes :
Official Website of HIM Shahbanou Farah: http://www.farahpahlavi.org/
Googoosh Fan Site : http://www.googoosh.tv/
Recommended Viewing : Googoosh sings (video clip here) at a private party attended by the royal family, including a young Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi shaking his head to the beat (1977).
Recommended Reading : Alain Delon’s Tribute to the Shahbanou Paris Alzheimer Gala 2005.
About the Author: Darius KADIVAR is a Freelance Journalist, Film Historian and Columnist of the OCPC Magazine USA. He operated as
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