Sunday, April 18, 2010

Kashish: Mumbai International Queer Film Festival

"Kashish: The Mumbai International Queer Film Festival (April 22-25) will celebrate artistic works about gay issues with films, photo exhibitions and discussions."

Rayna Jhaveri reports:

Kashish, the Mumbai International Queer Film Festival (April 22-25), celebrates Indian and international films addressing sexuality and sexual diversity. “We’re very happy that Kashish is turning out to be India’s biggest queer film festival, with 110 films from 25 different countries,” says Sridhar Rangayan.

Rangayan is one of India’s earliest 'out' gay men, a front-rank leader of the LGBT movement in India and an award-winning filmmaker: "...we’re looking to address queer issues not only to queer audiences but to the mainstream community as well.”

It’s tempting to think of a film festival about sexualities as a voyeuristic excuse to watch movies about (and with an abundance of) sex.

But while there are bound to be a fair few steamy scenes in many of the selected films, MIQFF’s focus this year is, in fact, on a threefold concept of family: being queer in a straight family, building alternate 'families' within the queer community to support you, and challenges faced by queer couples wanting to raise children.

Right now seems to be a great time to be here and queer in India.

In a historic decision in the Delhi High Court last July finally decriminalized homosexuality (a reversal of a 149-year-old colonial-era law) in India -- a gigantic (albeit belated) step forward not just for India’s LGBT population, but for the country’s social evolution as a whole.

The Indian Election Commission has even finally recognized “transgender” as a separate category.

While same-sex marriage is still a distant dream, the nationwide sprouting of queer activist groups, social networking, LGBT publications, gay pride marches and even a queer-friendly store in Mumbai have done wonders in giving the silently oppressed LGBT community increased visibility and a voice, helping to bring this marginalised minority closer to the mainstream.

The rise of queer film festivals adds a colorful feather to the LGBT cap. READ MORE

For more information please visit Kashish: Mumbai International Queer Film Festival.