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Kavery Kaul on mission to explore ‘shifting sands of culture’

Kavita Kaul's documentaries tell stories that cross boundaries to explore the shifting sands of culture, race, class and belonging.

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Kavery Kaul Image: kaverykaul.com
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New York: Kavery Kaul is addressing the engagement between people of different cultures and faiths via her film “Streetcar to Kolkata”. The filmmaker, who is a name to reckon with in the world of documentary-making, says she likes to pan the camera to mirror the “shifting sands of culture, race, class and belonging”.

Kaul shared that her journey from India to a different culture of the US turned out to be an inspiration for her to explore the film-making business.

“Every family has its own treasure chest of stories. I grew up with stories about India’s fight for independence from the British and the partition that followed. And then, there were stories of life at the sometimes-challenging, sometimes-comic, always-memorable intersection of the India my family came from and the America we came to. For all of us, the stories we’ve heard shape our beliefs, our practices and our perspective of the world,” span.state.gov quoted Kaul as saying.

Kaveri Kaul interview Image: Youtube
Kaveri Kaul interview. Image: Youtube

A graduate of Harvard University, Kaul has been awarded a Fulbright Fellowship, a New York Foundation for the Arts Artist’s Fellowship, multiple New York State Council on the Arts grants and two National Endowment for the Arts awards.

Also Read: Khundongbam: A young filmmaker who wants the world to know about Manipur

The Fulbright Fellowship gave her the opportunity to research and film her latest documentary “Streetcar to Kolkata”. Kaul teaches at Columbia University in New York, where her courses include works by people of different races, cultures, religions and genders.

Kaul, who picks up subjects like brain injuries, Calypso music, religion and Cuban art, added: “In my case, as a student at Harvard, I heard that a new and unusual course on the films of the Indian director Satyajit Ray was being offered by an Englishman on the faculty. How could I not be inspired by Ray’s nuanced stories of the human experience in the face of overwhelming social and economic forces?

“In those days, I also frequented New York City’s art-house theaters. There, I saw Sarah Maldoror’s ‘Sambizanga’, a film about the Angolan War of Independence against the Portuguese. It was such a strong, moving story of a struggle against colonial powers. These stories held resonance for me. These directors made me want to be a filmmaker too.”

Talking about cross-cultural themes, she said: “My documentaries tell stories that cross boundaries to explore the shifting sands of culture, race, class and belonging. Like the girls in ‘Long Way From Home’, I attended American independent schools and, later, an Ivy League college.”

As an advice to young Indians boarding flight to the US to pursue a career in the arts, Kaul says “Keep an open mind. Remember that America means Mark Twain and Toni Morrison, Junot Díaz and Jhumpa Lahiri. Take it all in. At the same time, hold on to who you are and the creativity that only you can offer as someone whose artistic vision stems from India, even as those roots mingle with your discovery of America.”(IANS)

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Fast Food Habits of Americans

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Americans include fast food in their daily food habits.
Fast Food. Pixabay

It’s no secret that Americans have a taste for fast food. In fact, almost one in four Americans eats it daily, according to a report from CBS News. However, the amount of fast food consumed varies depending on the region, according to a new report from Texas-based Datafiniti, which broke down some of the data about Americans fast food habit.

For example, the central and southern states boast the highest concentrations of fast food restaurants per capita, with Alabama as the state with the most. The northeastern states have the fewest and are led by Vermont, New Jersey and New York.

“The Central region, at 4.5 fast food restaurants per 10K residents, has the highest number of fast food restaurants per capita,” the company wrote in a news release. “The South is close behind with 4.4. The Eastern region has the fewest with just 2.5 fast food restaurants per 10K residents.”

Alabama has 6.3 restaurants per 10,000 residents, the most of any state. Of the top 10 states, nine were in the South. Nebraska and Indiana were the only non-southern states in the top 10 with 5.4 and 5 restaurants per 10,000 residents respectively.

Vermont, for example, has only 1.9 fast-food restaurants per 10,000 residents. Orlando, Cincinnati and Las Vegas boast the highest number of fast food restaurants per capita, with New York having the fewest. California has four cities among the top 10, with the fewest restaurants.

McDonald’s, which is the second largest chain of fast food restaurants, can be found in every American city, and Orlando and Las Vegas have the most per capita with 20.9 and 13.9 McDonald’s per 100,000 residents.

What is the largest fast-food chain? Subway, which has 18.5 percent of all fast food restaurants. McDonald’s has 11.3 percent. Behind them, in third, is Burger King, which has 5.7 percent.

Also Read: STUDY – Americans Online Almost Everytime

“Southern and Central states are the place to go if you love fast food; head to the East or out West if you don’t,” Datafiniti wrote. “Southern cities have abundant options for fast food, particularly in Florida; head to California if you don’t want to eat on the go.

“As for McDonald’s, it appears that this major restaurant chain has spread to every corner of America. Head to California if you don’t like the golden arches, and head basically anywhere else if you do.”  VOA

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