Cairo: The Cairo International Film Festival will screen three films from India, including one in the official competition for the Golden Pyramid, the top prize of the biggest film festival in the Arab world.
The first screening of the Indian film takes place tomorrow, when the Hindi film 'Lipstick Under My Burkha' will be shown in the Festival of Festivals section of the Cairo festival.
Directed by Mumbai-born filmmaker Alankrita Shrivastava, 'Lipstick Under My Brukha' joins 'Half Ticket' (Marathi) by Samit Kakkad and ' Ottayaal Paatha' (The Narrow Path) by Malayalam directors Satish Babusenan and Santosh Babusenan.
'Lipstick Under My Brukha', Shrivastava's second feature film after 'Turning 30' (2011), tells four stories of the lives of women who follow their dreams. In the first, a burkha-clad college girl's dream to become a pop singer clashes with her cultural identity. In the second set in a small town, two young beauticians are planning to escape their suffocating lives. The third story is about a mother of three, who lives two loves--as a housewife and a saleswoman. In the fourth, a casual phone call helps a 55-year-old woman rediscover her sexuality.
"We want to show the best of Indian cinema to our audience," said Cairo festival artistic director Youssef Cherif Rizkallah. "It is the duty of a film festival to present different kinds of cinema from India, which is the biggest film industry in the world."
'Half Ticket', which is part of the International Panorama section, deals with the dreams and hopes of families living in slums. Remade from Tamil film 'Kaakka Muttai' by M Manikandan, which was premiered in Toronto in 2014, the film follows two children who suddenly lose their playground to a fast food joint. The children, who work to help their family earn a livelihood, want to eat a pizza at the new restaurant, but their social status as slum kids, prevent their dream coming true.
"Both India and Egypt have huge audiences which love cinema," said Kakkad, the director of 'Half Ticket', who sets the film in the slums of Mumbai. "It is therefore an honour to present our film in the Cairo festival," added Kakkad, who came with his cinematographer Sanjay Memane to attend the Cairo festival. 'Half Ticket' will be screened on Sunday.
Malayalam film 'Ottayaal Paatha' (The Narrow Path) by the Babusenan brother from Thiruvananthapuram, handles old age and the indifference of the youth towards the suffering of the elderly. Part of the prestigious competition section of the Cairo festival, 'Ottayaal Paatha' is about a young man who wants to run away from home, to escape from his responsibility of caring for his old and crippled father.
"The film portrays the modern day reality of independent India where children grow up and are forced to leave elderly parents while they go seeking jobs in other cities or countries," said Santosh Babusenan."This reality of an Indian in transition is stretching the bonds that bind the young and the old," he added.
"It is also about opening up to oneself and how our lives are led by the events that we hide from ourselves," explained Satish Babusenan. "And confronting these inner secrets that liberate us from the grip of self-centredness. Art is all about exploring one's conjectures with as much honesty as possible," he said.
'Painted House', the first film of the Babusenan brothers, was premiered in the International Film Festival of Kerala last year.
Another Malayalam filmmaker, Santosh Sivan's Tamil film 'The Terrorist' is the only Indian film to have won the Golden Pyramid at the Cairo festival when it was judged the Best Film in 1998. Sivan also won the Best Director award in Cairo that year.
'Ottayaal Paatha' will be screened on November 21.
The Cairo festival, which began on Tuesday with a glittering opening ceremony, which included a musical tribute to global cinema, including Indian cinema, runs up to November 24.