'Political parties shouldn’t use us as scapegoats'

Jury members of Kashish Mumbai International Queer Film Festival feel the LGBT community should get its due and be recognised as part of mainstream society

The fifth Kashish Mumbai International Queer Film Festival in Mumbai, showcasing a collection of Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) movies, will start from May 21 to 25 at Liberty Cinema, New Marine Lines and concurrently at Alliance Française de Bombay, in South Mumbai.

(L to R) Roy Wadia, Avantika Akerkar, Nitish Bharadwaj and Pia Benegal, the jury members for Kashish film festival during the press conference held at Press Club in Mumbai.  Pic/Shadab Khna

The festival will showcase 154 films from 31 countries. Festival director Sridhar Rangayan announced this at a recent press conference at the Press Club in Mumbai with some members of the Kashish jury in attendance. Rangayan said, “Kashish started off as a small festival that has grown significantly over the years.

With Liberty Theatre as a first-ever screening venue, we are going more mainstream. One day, Kashish will blend into the cinemascape.” He also added that this year, 11 movies will have a world premiere at the event. “This year, there have also been submissions from countries such as Turkey, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka where it is difficult to be a member of the LGBT community,” Rangayan explained. 

Looking ahead
Vivek Anand, CEO of the Humsafar Trust, a non-profit organisation working for the LGBT community, said that December 12, 2013 when the Supreme Court overturned the repealing of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), was a black day for the entire community. However, he added that he was happy that the community members have become proactive over time. “Despite setbacks, change has come. Today, we have LGBT flash mobs at Dadar and Bandra stations. This would be unthinkable in my days,” he added.

Challenges to face
Activist and Wadia Movietone director Roy Wadia, a jury member of Kashish, said the more the world progressed, there was also a significant backlash. “The Supreme Court’s travesty has ensured that harm has been done. Globally too, the LGBT community faces challenges in Uganda, Sudan, Cameroon and Nigeria. Recently, Brunei implemented the Sharia law where LGBT people could be in danger of being stoned to death. I hope political parties here will not use us as scapegoats.”

Watch out

>> 154 films from 31 countries
>> 28 international and 39 Asian film premieres
>> Queer films from Turkey, Sri Lanka, Uganda, Bangladesh will be screened


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