Kalpna Singh Chitnis: Poet, filmmaker and actor

Settled in Irvine, California 40 miles south of Los Angeles, Kalpna Singh Chitnis’ name might not ring a bell very easily. A poet, filmmaker and actor, she dapples in art of many forms. Like many an Indian bride, she moved to America after getting married. But there is nothing typical about Kalpna. She is the name behind the Silent River Film festival, aimed at recognising and promoting upcoming independent filmmakers from all over the world. She is also one among the few Indian-origin women to dapple in film direction. Passionate about her work, Kalpna strives to find inspiration in what she does, an aspect that successfully comes through in all her endeavours. 

As a Global Indian, what keeps you connected to your homeland?

India throbs in my heart and flows in my veins. My Indian roots keep me firmly on the ground I stand on. We celebrate every Indian holiday in USA and follow traditions the best we can. But Indian holidays are never the same like we celebrate in India.

When the going gets tough, what is your mantra?

Every living being meets a death every moment, but continues with another moment full of life with immense possibility, this is my mantra! When going gets tough, I drop everything that slows me down and creates self-doubt in my mind.
You are an actor, a filmmaker and an author, what was it that moved you towards this creative profession?

Creativity unfolds naturally when we are in touch with ourselves.  My constant need of staying in touch with my inner-self lead me to my creative profession, that was meant to be.
What has been the most challenging moment for you?

When I made the decision to move to the United States, it meant proving myself all over again, starting out from scratch. When we migrate, we all feel uprooted and it takes years before we feel settled. Challenges were big for me since I was trying to make my name in an industry (film) that is very competitive and not chosen by many Indians who move here.

Who do you consider a true Global Indian?
The person who believes in “Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam” (the whole world is one single family) not forgetting his roots is a true global Indian. A rich and famous NRI or a world renowned celebrity is not necessarily a global Indian.
Who do consider your biggest inspiration in life?

Anything that has ever made its way to my heart, has become an inspiration in my life. I can't call one person my inspiration behind everything I do in my life. The universe is so generous to send inspiration in abundance from so many different sources and I keep my heart open!
If you weren’t doing what you do, what would you be doing?

I would had been a hermit, perhaps!
Are you a fan of Indian cinema?

I do not watch all Bollywood musicals, but make sure to watch all good Indian films. I have been a fan of Raj Kapoor, Satyajeey Ray, Dev Anand, Shyam Benegal, Gulzar, and many new generation filmmakers and actors. Naming a few favorites, would not be fair to others.