Chitra Kalyani

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Latest by Chitra Kalyani


'Los' in translation

Much like his character Tom (Pepijn Caudron) explains to Nadia (Sana Mouziane) the meaning of irony, “Los (“Cut Loose ) director Jan Verheyen, who raked the Cairo International ilm Festival’s Silver Pyramid and Best Screenplay Awards, found himself explaining that individual characters in cinema did not stand for “Arabs or “Muslims or “Flemish. Despite these …

Chitra Kalyani

Festival honoree on adapting Naguib Mahfouz to Mexican cinema

Director Arturo Ripstein, who received the lifetime achievement award at the closing ceremony of the Cairo International Film Festival, says he cannot help but be what he is. Based on Naguib Mahfouz’s novel, Ripstein’s 1994 film “Principio Y Fin (“The Beginning and the End ) was screened outside of competition this year at the Cairo …

Chitra Kalyani

'Cut Loose' laughs and says 'I dunno'

You always laugh but you do nothing, says Pakistani asylum-seeker Nadia gifting a stuffed canary to Tom, “Keep it close to your heart, and it will help you to do. Cinematically a laugh-out-loud comedy, “Los (“Cut Loose ) nevertheless tackles weighty issues. Jan Verheyen’s entry picked up the Silver Pyramid and won Best Script in …

Chitra Kalyani

Soul of a woman conjures 'Mario, the Magician'

Hungarian director Tamás Almási is proud that he is reputed to have the “soul of a woman. Inspired by Thomas Mann’s novel of the same name, the veteran documentary maker’s second feature film “Márió, a varázsló (“Mario, the Magician ) is actually about a Hungarian woman’s fascination with her Italian boss. “Everybody has somebody in …

Chitra Kalyani

Priscilla Presley on serving humanities

Priscilla Presley is all about bringing “humanities together. If she had not been an actress, she would have been involved in human rights in some way. She would have extended her services to “children care, animal rights, older people. Presley was given an enthusiastic introduction. “Not just a talented actress, said the moderator at a …

Chitra Kalyani

Much-ado at 'Go with Peace Jamil'

Criticism is bitter medicine, and it was equally hard to swallow at the screening of “Maa Salaama Jamil (Go in Peace Jamil) as at its aftermath. Omar Shargawi’s directorial début kicks off with an impending sense of doom as the title character is tying loose ends and saying goodbyes. Set in Copenhagen, the story documents …

Chitra Kalyani

Kitsch and kitchen in "Tandoori Love"

The backdrop of the Alps in a romantic Bollywood song triggered more than a memory of home in director Oliver Paulus’ mind. It also sowed the idea of “Tandoori Love, a delectable meeting between the worlds of India and Switzerland, through mediums that the director loved best, the Bollywood and Indian cuisine. “Tandoori Love, a …

Chitra Kalyani

Bang, swosh, tap: Stomp makes beautiful noise in Cairo

Brooms, lids, bins, poles, sand, chalk, drumsticks, water and matchboxes – not a terribly exciting list, until you consider that these are in fact musical instruments. It is difficult to put a finger on exactly where the charm lies. Perhaps, it is that music can be found in the mundane, and that’s what Stomp is …

Chitra Kalyani

Egypt embraces a few days of Indian culture

CAIRO: Among the many languages of the subcontinent, the famed Indian head-nod – a side-to-side waggle of the head – is perhaps one that features across borders, especially in music. Kicking off with a musical night at the Cairo Opera House on Nov. 10, the week-long festival entitled “Days of Indian Culture in Egypt also …

Chitra Kalyani

An overlooked continent promised home at CIFF

This year sees African Cinema in the spotlight at the Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF). With only five films to represent the second largest continent in size and population, the spotlight this year is sadly very narrow. The seminar entitled “Cinemas of Africa.Goodbye Isolation held on Thursday morning nevertheless revealed an optimistic front to the …

Chitra Kalyani

Links of interest

Ever stumbled upon a website that excited or intrigued you? Below are a couple of my favorites, proving that there’s more to be experienced on the internet than Facebook and Wikipedia. The first is www.yousendit.com, which allows you to send large files of up to 100 MB from a free personal account. Simply upload a …

Chitra Kalyani

Links of interest

Ever stumbled upon a website that excited or intrigued you? Below are some of my favorites, proving that there’s more to be experienced on the internet than Facebook and Wikipedia. Ever wanted to know what the meaning of the song was, but didn’t find friends who shared your niggling concern with the line “you’ll give …

Chitra Kalyani

Links of Interest

Ever stumbled upon a website that excited or intrigued you? Below are some of my favorites, proving that there’s more to be experienced on the internet than Facebook and Wikipedia. 1) At www.43things.com asks “What do you want to do with your life? and lets you answer, 43 times. Each item on the list begins …

Chitra Kalyani

Life and literature at Café Riche

What if you could visit the home of Naguib Mahfouz, Om Kolthoum, Taha Hussein and Youssef Idris all at once? Café Riche provides the converging stop where you can pay homage to Egyptian thinkers – a chain that remains almost unbroken until today. Set to re-open within two weeks, the café that was once a …

Chitra Kalyani

An unconscious champion breaks Egyptian taboos

Whenever Hassan Hassawi is unable to comprehend certain behaviors in society, he falls unconscious, hence his nickname Hassan Ghaybooba (Hassan Coma). The blackout following his astonishment doesn’t just last an hour, or even a day; rather the character goes into a coma which sometimes lasts a year or two. “Hassawi we Ayyamo (Hassawi and His …

Chitra Kalyani

A dream within a dream

When the director of the Cairo Opera House Ballet Company Dr Abdel Moneim Kamel was invited to Víctor Ullate Ballet of the Madrid Company, he “fell in love with the production of “Samsara. And that’s how the performance, that Director Víctor Ullate calls “the dance of life, was brought to its first audience in the …

Chitra Kalyani

Egypt through the eyes of Jemila Yosri

“I love these ducks. We had these in England. They don’t like swimming very much; they prefer to stay on land. Jemila Yosri has a particular way of describing the subjects of her paintings and sculpture. At times, they are photographs, both the real and the romanticized. At others, they are memories colored with nostalgia, …

Chitra Kalyani

What's all that noise about?

For a musician tipped as “one of the greatest darbouka players in the world, Rony Barrak’s performance last week at the Geneina Theater left something to be desired. The opening numbers of the concert – a medley from his albums “Karizma and “Aramba – quickly acquainted the audience with Barrak’s forte: the smooth synchronization of …

Chitra Kalyani

The transcending sound of The Joubran Trio

“We are actually six brothers, said The Joubran Trio last Monday at their first concert in Egypt, held at Geneina Theater. The a’wad, the stringed-instruments they play, are their three additional brothers. The Joubran Trio are three young musicians – Samir, Wissam and Adnan Joubran – from Palestine, hailing from a well-known family of musicians. …

Chitra Kalyani

Perfect present continuous

Waiting is a word that best illustrates the term “perfect present continuous – the grammar for tense moments in search of perfection. Coined by independent art curator Nat Muller, the “perfect present continuous is a play on the tense that embodies an action that has started in the past and continues up until now. By …

Chitra Kalyani

Yehya Khalil: The Jazz Man

Music is not in the instrument, as famous percussionist Ricardo Gallardo once said. Music is in the person. And Yehya Khalil is that principle personified. The most famous and acclaimed percussionist in the Arab world was singlehandedly responsible for bringing the sound of jazz to Egypt in the second half of the 20th century, and …

Chitra Kalyani

A tale of two bookstores

On Shagaret El-Dorr Street stand two of the oldest and most prominent multilingual bookstores in Zamalek, not more than a minute’s walk apart. Owner Ramzy Nashed Salama remembers the exact date he opened Zamalek Bookshop: May 13, 1960. At the time, recalls Salama, there were only 18 bookstores in Cairo – all owned by foreigners …

Chitra Kalyani

It's not just about lines: The shadow of geometry

Geometry is “not just about lines, says architect Yahia Shawkat. Besides “anchoring the building to the land, these same lines could form “a cosmic link with the angles of the sun and stars – depends on how far you want to go with that. For architecture to have added value, it has to carry a …

Chitra Kalyani

A friendship forged by non-alignment

The year is 1960. It is the Cold War era. Two high ranking men are shaking hands. The warmth of their greeting spills over from the black-and-white photograph adorning the halls of the Maulana Azad Center for Indian Culture. Walking through the photo exhibition titled “India-Egypt: A Photographic Retrospective, one bears witness to a deep, …

Chitra Kalyani

An evening of forgetfulness

Music, rhythm, and balance can make you forget the pains in life, said Vyjanthi Kashi between her performances of the Kuchipudi dance at Al Azhar Park’s Geneina Theater last Monday. The evening of Indian music and dance was organized by Mawred (Culture Resource) in cooperation with the Embassy of India. Mawred provided their venue, the …

Chitra Kalyani

Toastmasters: Thriving on the fear of public speaking

Delivering a speech in front of an audience ranks as the people’s prime fear – even higher than fear of death. Every month, on the first and third Tuesday, members of Cairo Toastmasters meet to fight this fear – by facing it. Unlike a theory-based class on public speaking, Toastmasters is an organization that enhances …

Chitra Kalyani

A dozen and more ways to tie a headscarf – for men

A man s headgear can provide clues to where he is from and even where he is going. Scarf-ties are directly related to the culture of different countries in the Arab world, says Mohamed El-Shibly, who convened Rabtet El Emmeh (scarf-tying group) on Wednesday evening at the Sahara Khan club in Sakkara. A scarf-tie carries …

Chitra Kalyani

Dying Long: A Passage of 35 Minutes

When you try to snare friends into going with you to attend what your editor describes as “interesting and “veers towards the bizarre, but unwittingly blurt the words “experimental and “modern theatre-slash-dance, don’t be surprised when friends politely suggest you meet them afterwards. Only when the curtains rolled down did I realize that the performance …

Chitra Kalyani

DJ Ipek: Play how you dance

Ipek Ipekcioglu didn’t initially set out to mix records; that is, until fate stepped in. About 10 years ago, the DJ who was scheduled to host a party for gay Middle Easterners in a Berlin night club pulled a no-show. Enter Ipek, who, armed with a few Turkish cassette tapes and being a second generation …

Chitra Kalyani

Shark tale served by Egypt's youngest author

As early as first grade, one of Janna Gohar s teachers at Cairo American College dubbed her the Queen of Details. Gohar seems to enjoy the title, and certainly lives up to it. Early on, her natural flair for storytelling was obvious. Even before they began learning to read stories in her class, Gohar was …

Chitra Kalyani