"My love to learn languages and photography got me connected to India", - Abdullah Al Kandari

Deepika Nambiar
Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Abdullah Al Kandari, though he had inherited a connection with India where his father used to travel a lot for trading before marrying his mother from there, he believes his interest in learning languages and his interest in street photography got him connected to India closely.

He was fascinated to learn languages and learnt various languages like Hindi, Tamil, and Malayalam from his linguistic mother. His favourite language was Tamil. In his childhood days when he used to travel to India, especially to Bangalore and Mysore, his father who was a photographer took many pictures of him in front of Mysore Palace, Chamundi Hills, Ooty and other places. This made him generate interest in Photography.

For Abdullah Al Kandari real photography is of those people who have never been photographed. He feels photographing the darkness, and the ugliness and getting the beauty out of it is the real photograph. His way of photographing is to get into the streets of real India, not the cosmopolitan or the big cities. He spent days at Mumbai's largest slum area at Dharavi to click pictures, which got many awards for him. He spent almost two weeks in the Tamil Colony there just to take photographs of the people, their homes, their culture etc. He has even spent days in Goa, Karnataka, Tamilnadu and Kerala to capture the real moments of village people.

His inspirations are the famous European Photographer Mr Andreas Grutzeck, Bangladesh photographer Mr GMB Akash and American photographer Mr Steve McCurry.

Probably, he is the one and only Kuwaiti filmmaker, who made an Indian film, which just recently premiered in Australia for the fantastic Flickerfest. This short 18 minutes Indian film "A Lullaby for Yellow Roses" is about a migrant working-class couple who, after losing their daughter to an ill-fated destiny, seeks friends in each other. Female foeticide, a big issue among the lower middle class or the underprivileged society motivated him to start writing this film story. His friend Mr Rahul Roy from Kolkata, West Bengal directed the movie in India. The movie was made during the Covid Pandemic time Year 2021. The language is Hindi. Due to the pandemic, he could not meet the director or the film cast crew.

He is planning to do more movies and documentaries. "In India, every corner has a story. I wish to work with more Indian directors. This is my vision to open a creative forum for my generation. I believe that my work should speak for myself." said Abdullah Al Kandari.

Even though he watched many Bollywood movies, he is more hungry for good stories that provoke him and that stay in his memory for a longer time.

He has watched all kinds of films, not just Bollywood, Iranian cinema, international cinema etc. "One of the best films I watched from India is an Assamese film titled "Aamis". It's a beautiful simple story and the climax really shook me". This movie won the best movie award at MAMI Mumbai Film Festival. Indian directors like Anurag Kashyap, and Vishal Bhardwaj inspires me. It is good to note that nowadays not only Hindi, but regional films are also getting the respect that they deserve, Abdullah, who watched the Kannada version of KGF and a few other Malayalam movies said.

For him, Directors are the real actors, as directors can make good or bad films. Actors are just given the script and do what the directors tell them. His favourites are Nawazuddin Siddiqui, late Irrfan Khan and Randeep Hooda. He also likes the acting of Dhanush and Kamal Haasan in Tamil. Mani Ratnam is his favourite director.

Exhibiting his photos at many exhibitions worldwide, his favourite moments are when his photos got exhibited at Slovakia Museum. In Kuwait also he conducted one exhibition a few years back where the Kuwaitis were spellbound and appreciated his photographs.

Abdulla was invited to give talks on photography at Jain University and Christ University in Bangalore.

Reading a lot of books from India, Arundhati Roy, Shashi Tharoor etc are his favourite authors. Abdullah Al Kandari had a great opportunity to meet Shashi Tharoor when he came to Kuwait and got his signature on one of his books. Whenever he travels to India, he brings a lot of books from there to read. Currently, he is reading the famous "Malgudi Days" by R. K. Narayan.

Reading a lot about India, he is also fascinated by Indian politics, and says "it's very complex". Like Indian politics, he also feels Indian Cuisine are also complex and like eating Idly, Dosa and Bengali Biryani.

There are many Indian talents in Kuwait and Kuwait has a lot of opportunities and resources. Why don't we join all the dots and make use of these, he asks. Expand the creativity and make these countries proud, said Abdullah Al Kandari.

Deepika Nambiar is part of the IIK team and IWIK core team. She does regular contributions to the news portal IndiansinKuwait.com and also for Timesofindia.com.
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