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Sharif D Rangnekar: Showing queer characters in a family can effect change

Updated on: 27 November,2023 05:26 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Upala KBR |

Ahead of next edition of Rainbow Lit Fest in which Kalki will also participate, festival founder says cinema can enable the community to find space in society today

Sharif D Rangnekar: Showing queer characters in a family can effect change

Kalki Koechlin

Back after a four-year hiatus, the Rainbow Lit Fest—Queer and Inclusive, will take place in New Delhi, next month. Festival director-founder Sharif D Rangnekar says celebrities including Kalki Koechlin and Alankrita Shrivastava will shed light on the role of cinema in shaping mindset, as the festival launches an awards gala in literature and journalism.

Bringing together diverse voices from across the nation, the speakers will discuss queerness, while encouraging inclusivity. Spotlight sessions with director Jaydeep Sarkar, maker of the new queer docuseries Rainbow Rishta, Koechlin, Shrivastava and Mona Ambegaonkar, will be conducted. 

Alankrita ShrivastavaAlankrita Shrivastava

“Cinema, as a pictorial imagery created in the motion picture space, plays a great role in deeply influencing minds and ideas about several things—cultures, rituals, existence, identities, love, relationships. These three artistes [are challenging] the roles that women are expected to play. The roles [they write or portray] are not typical, or as per society’s norms of gender-roles. Once you start queering the construct of gender roles, you start creating a larger imagination of what a man or woman can be. When you start bringing in queer characters in a family, you start seeing them co-existing in a normal fashion. Cinema can bring about this change, and Mona, Alankrita and Kalki have been doing that for a while through their work and the things they talk about.”    

The awards, he says, will create a sense of belonging for the LGBTQIA+ community. “Conversations here revolve around lived experiences, and are essential in giving the community a sense of identity and space, while also informing the audience of queerness and the expanse of choice. There’s a need to create a benchmark for authenticity of the narrative. Awards create a reference point for queer folks that exist in the publishing world.” 

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