By Laman Ismayilova
"They call me Azerbaijan's first cinema actress. Sometimes I ask myself - is it true? Am I a real actress? In general, I was not an actress but I acted. No, I lived two female fates in front of the camera. These women were my contemporaries, or rather, my peers..."
These words were said once by talented national actress Izzat Orujova.
In the 20s of the past century, she was not only able to study and become a chemist, but also starred in the national cinema without a veil, which was a very bold step for those times.
Izzat Orujova was born in 1909 in Baku. She was the eldest of five children in the family.
Orujova and her sisters became the first women to throw off their veils in the street named Chadrovaya (veil) where their family lived.
In 1932, Orujova graduated from the Azerbaijani Petroleum Institute, where she studied oil chemistry. Since then, she began working as a laboratory assistant in the Azerbaijan Research Institute of the Oil Refining Industry. After work, she taught at an adult school.
Even during her student years, Orujova worked as a typist in Azneft to help her family. In the same period she began acting in films.
Previously, women of other nationalities were cast in the movie as Azerbaijani women.
After a long search for a female actress, the great Azerbaijani playwright Jafar Jabbarli saw Orujova and chose her to play Sevil in the film based on his novel with the same name.
Izzat Orujova writes about Jafar Jabbarli in her memories: "The producers of the film were Alibek Nazarov and Jaffar Jabbarli. Alibek wanted Nora Arzumanova to cast in the role of "Sevil", but Jaffar Jabbarli was against that. He said that an Azerbaijani girl must act". The film is about Sevil who is an illiterate woman.
In 1929, the film was screened and had a huge impact on the emancipation of many Azerbaijani women. In 1935, Orujova starred in the film "Diamond", also based on the play “Diamond” by Jaffar Jabbarli.
After this success, the playwright wrote a script under the same name, shot the film "Diamond" and helped in the production of the film.
Jaffar Jabbarli wanted Izzat Orujova to act in the film.
After Jabbarli’s sudden death, his colleagues completed his work and Izzat Orujova appeared in the film. Later, the young actress left the cinema industry to dedicate the rest of her life to science.
In 1932, Orujova graduated from the Azerbaijan Petrochemical Institute.
In 1932-1949, she worked at the Azerbaijan Research Institute of Oil Refining Industry. Since the 1970s, she worked at the Institute of Additive Chemistry of the Academy of Sciences of the Azerbaijan SSR. The main works of Orujova are devoted to the study of the properties of lubricating oils. She developed a number of technological methods for the production of additives.
The personal life of national actress was complicated. Very few people knew that Izzat Orujova brought up her son alone, like her character Sevil.
In 1935, Orujova married her neighbor Movsum Ismayilzade and the couple had a son Ilmaz. In 1937, Movsum was arrested by the Bolsheviks as an enemy of the people, the charges brought against many intellectuals during Stalin repressions. Anticipating his arrest, he divorced his wife to save the family from repression. Returning from the exile Ismayilzade was forbidden to live in Baku. He settled in Mingechevir, where he married again.
Azerbaijan's first cinema actress passed away on April 22, 1983.
Laman Ismayilova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Lam_Ismayilova
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