India to be in focus at queer film festival which will be held in Mumbai

May 17, 2018, 16:23 IST | Hemal Ashar

The festival also has a new, mainstream space, SoBo's Metro-Inox cinema, which will host films concurrently

Actors from the film Evening Shadows, Arpit Chaudhary, Devansh Doshi and Mona Ambegaonkar, at the Kashish press conference yesterday. Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi
Actors from the film Evening Shadows, Arpit Chaudhary, Devansh Doshi and Mona Ambegaonkar, at the Kashish press conference yesterday. Pic/Sayyed Sameer Abedi

The ninth edition of Mumbai's Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Queer (LGBTQ) festival, Kashish, was announced at a conference at the Press Club in Azad Maidan on Wednesday afternoon. The annual fest will open on May 23 and end on May 27 at SoBo's Liberty theatre, which has been rechristened Carnival-Liberty. The festival also has a new, mainstream space, SoBo's Metro-Inox cinema, which will host films concurrently.

Numbers speak
Festival director Shridhar Rangayan said, "Kashish has grown in stature. We have 140 films from 45 countries and had to choose from 1,200 films. Filmmakers want to show their movies here and hold Asian and world premieres at this festival. The festival is as much about advocacy as it is about entertainment. I remember when we began in 2010, the big news was that a gay film fest is being held, today the films are the news, not the 'gay' festival."

Focus India
This edition is all about making some noise for the desi boys and girls because India is the country in focus. There are 33 films from India. The jury, which has been on a movie watching spree, spoke at the conference. Malati Rao said, "The films are contemporary and Mumbai audiences will be watching the latest in LGBT fare." Filmmaker Ramchandra P N said, "The short films are vibrant. The longer, feature films are well-researched." Sid Makkar simply said, "This is about non-discrimination but above all, it is about good cinema."

For Jayati Bhatia and Batul Mukhtiar, "Some films affected us [the jury] profoundly, we needed a break to absorb the message and assess the impact before moving on to the next." Trailers of films were beamed, some stark, others dark, but the overriding sentiment of the afternoon was love.

Evocative roles
Actor Mona Ambegaonkar and other actors from the closing film 'Evening Shadows' spoke about the powerful, evocative roles they play. Actor Arpit Chaudhary, of 'Evening Shadows', spoke about his initial trepidation about playing a gay man in his first film. Ambegaonkar who plays the mother, when introduced as an 'LGBT ally' shouted, "I am an honorary lesbian," to wild applause.

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