A privileged young male Arab at odds with his cultural identity and his less fortunate street smart friend; a disillusioned Indian taxi driver who bears an uncanny resemblance to a famous Bollywood star; and a former Romanian ballet dancer now working as a flight attendant and searching for love and companionship … these individuals all live in Dubai and their lives are about to collide for better or for worse in a city where ambition, growth and opportunity are encouraged and dreams can still manifest. “City of Life” is an urban drama that tracks the various intersections of a multi-ethnic cast, examining how random interactions and their consequences can irrevocably impact another’s life. As the name suggests, City of Life’s inordinately humane kaleidoscope of converging experiences introduces a city that is in itself a living pulsating character. “City of Life” ultimately reveals how unexpected tragedy and loss can lead to hope and profound transformation as it explores and exposes the complex network that exists in an emerging multi cultural society’s race, ethnicity and class divide. Written by Tanya Wagner.
How do you correct negative perceptions about your culture? Iman Burhan and a collective of young Somali filmmakers in Eastleigh, a neighborhood in Nairobi, Kenya, are tackling this question head-on.
By: Irena Akbar
She wanted to be like Kareena Kapoor, and “could not wait to act in a movie”. In her last year of college, she “got offers from casting directors who would scout for faces in campuses and on Facebook”. But her “well-to-do” Mumbai-based Kashmiri Muslim family would not allow her to take up any film job unless it was offered by Yash Chopra’s YRF (Yash Raj Films). That was in 2012.
Two years on, Murcyleen Peerzada, a 23-year-old Kashmiri woman based in Mumbai, does not idolise Kareena. She now dreams of “being like Yasmin Mogahed”, an Egypt-born American preacher known for her talks and articles on Islam.