Cairo film fest, an effort to popularise arthouse fare - Hindustan Times
close_game
close_game

Cairo film fest, an effort to popularise arthouse fare

Hindustan Times | ByGautaman Bhaskaran, Cairo
Nov 16, 2015 02:27 PM IST

One of the most striking aspects about the ongoing Cairo International Film Festival is the presence of a large number of young people at the screening venues. Unlike many other movie festivals, Cairo encourages participation by non-professionals in an attempt to cultivate a taste and sensibility for meaningful cinema, particularly arthouse fare and Egyptian films.

One of the most striking aspects about the ongoing Cairo International Film Festival is the presence of a large number of young people at the screening venues. Unlike many other movie festivals, Cairo encourages participation by non-professionals in an attempt to cultivate a taste and sensibility for meaningful cinema, particularly arthouse fare and Egyptian films.

Meghna Gulzar's Talvar, based on the Arushi Talwar murder case, is one of the many entries from India at the Cairo film fest.
Meghna Gulzar's Talvar, based on the Arushi Talwar murder case, is one of the many entries from India at the Cairo film fest.

And as the Artistic Director of the Cairo festival, Youssef Cherif Rizkallah, told this writer over a dinner chat, this is the need of the hour in a country where Hollywood invasion has been mighty. Despite Egypt’s protection policy of not allowing an American movie to come in with more than 10 prints of a film at a time, the local home-grown cinema has not really flourished.

Unlock exclusive access to the latest news on India's general elections, only on the HT App. Download Now! Download Now!

Read: Cairo Film Festival begins with Meryl Streep work

About 150 Hollywood blockbusters arrive in Egypt every year -- in contrast to just about 40 or 50 local movies. There was a time when the annual production of Egyptian films touched 80 or so. There was also a time when the number fell to an alarming low of about 15 a year!

Rizkallah also said that Indian movies were popular in the 1970s and the 1980s, and many of Amitabh Bachchan starrers were huge hits. Earlier, Indian cinema was known through men like Raj Kapoor. But the real Indian wave was in the 1970s and the 1980s, and it appears that the man responsible for pushing this desire among Egyptians was Mr Bachchan.

Amitabh Bachchan’s films of the 1970s and 1980s are still very popular in Egypt.
Amitabh Bachchan’s films of the 1970s and 1980s are still very popular in Egypt.

In a way, one can note a subtle move to popularise not only Indian cinema in Egypt, but also Egyptian productions. There are four Indian films in the festival -- Umrika, Talvar, An Island City and Om Shanti Om. All in the Hindi language, a fact that underlines the need to think of Indian cinema as one that goes beyond Bollywood.

Umrika, the Hindi word for America, follows Ramakant Sharma, a rural Indian boy whose older brother Udai mysteriously vanishes after he embarks for a new life in America. (Umrika/Facebook)
Umrika, the Hindi word for America, follows Ramakant Sharma, a rural Indian boy whose older brother Udai mysteriously vanishes after he embarks for a new life in America. (Umrika/Facebook)

Which festivals like Venice have realised. This year, Vetrimaaran’s superbly powerful Visaaranai (Interrogation) in Tamil played at this festival on the Lido and with resounding success.

Read: Prashant Nair’s Umrika goes to Cairo Film Festival

Back to Cairo, there are two Egyptian movies in Competition, Born to a Man and The Grand Night. The first talks of the struggle of a young man as he finds a way out of his poverty through boxing. The Grand Night is a cinematic effort to present different characters in the course of religious fairs.

(Gautaman Bhaskaran is covering the Cairo International Film Festival.)

check other news on bollywood section

See more

Catch every big hit, every wicket with Crick-it, a one stop destination for Live Scores, Match Stats, Quizzes, Polls & much more. Explore now!.

Get more updates from Bollywood, Taylor Swift, Hollywood, Music and Web Series along with Latest Entertainment News at Hindustan Times.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Share this article
SHARE
Story Saved
Live Score
OPEN APP
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Monday, May 27, 2024
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Follow Us On