Mumbai: LGBTQ film festival hopes to 'rock the city'

Mumbai's Kashish film festival ready to roll and hammer home its 'we all are diverse, we all are one' theme

The jury (from left) Vinta Nanda, Anjum Rajabali, Lubna Salim and Jabeen Merchant,  at the Press Club on Wednesday. Pics/Suresh karkera
The jury (from left) Vinta Nanda, Anjum Rajabali, Lubna Salim and Jabeen Merchant,  at the Press Club on Wednesday. Pics/Suresh karkera

The Kashish Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer (LGBTQ) film festival, beginning in the city from May 24 till May 28 at two venues, the Alliance de Francaise and Liberty cinema, is on the runway. Take off is still a week away, but like film festival director, Sridhar Rangayan said at the press conference at Press Club at Azad Maidan on Wednesday evening, "Our tagline for the eighth edition is: 'Let's rock the city'. That is exactly what we aim to do." The festival will showcase 147 queer-centric films from 45 countries, with the jury panel judging 51 films that are competing in different categories.

Part of the jury panel - Anjum Rajabali, screenwriter, Lubna Salim, actor, Vinta Nanda, well-known television serial producer and writer and film editor Jabeen Merchant - said they had "already seen 16 movies out of the 51 that are part of the competitive section, yesterday."

Rangayan also spoke about how the first Kashish film festival happened at the PVR in a 125-seater theatre eight years ago "with so much anxiety about how people would react to the films. Yet Mumbai has been so receptive. The city embraced Kashish. Today, we showcase at the 1,400-seater Liberty theatre".

Love is love
It was then over to actor Siddharth Menon who stars in the queer-themed film called 'Loev'. Menon simply said, "The film shows that gay or straight, love is love it is a universal, human emotion."

For Rajabali, "We are going through a gigantic and tragic paradox. India's defining characteristic is its diversity. So, it is inexplicable that we are going through an age when differences are victimised and there is prejudice. What Kashish is then is a celebration of differences and in that way, it is a celebration of India."

Pathbreaking initiatives
Two others in the jury, writer Aseem Chhabra and Roy Wadia of Wadia MovieTone were absent, but are expected for the festival. Some definite pathbreakers for this festival are films from countries like Kosovo and Aruba making their debut, and Shabana Azmi to be seen in an LGBTQ-themed movie after 21 years, as Kashish opens with her film 'Signature Move'. Then, there is a corporate house like VIP Skybags, which is not blushing to be seen at Kashish. The festival will have stalls featuring the brand, marking another first for the fest. It's time Mumbai skywalks or moonwalks into the fest where it is all about, vive la difference!

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