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 Topic: Queer Eye on Mumbai

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Joined: 13 Jun 2006
Posts: 9
Interests: Journalist
Physical Location: US

Posted: 24 Dec 2009, 12:55 pm    Post subject: Queer Eye on Mumbai Reply with quote

Kashish – Mumbai Queer Film Festival, 2010

Pride parades in all metros, the historic Delhi High Court’s verdict on Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, relaunch of India’s first gay magazine Bombay Dost, the Indian Election Commission’s decision to recognize transgender as a separate category… the pink flag is rising over India, queer (or LGBT – lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender) visibility is increasing.

Mainstream Indian cinema too has recognized this to an extent, with queer characters in several recent films (still mostly negative though). But there are still many undiscovered, unseen films with queer themes that have neither reached the movie hall nor had a platform to reach wider audiences. These are the small budget, independent films, short films, documentaries and projects by media students.

Kashish - Mumbai Queer Film Festival, 2010 is an attempt by Solaris Pictures and Bombay Dost to unearth these films and showcase them, celebrating the creativity of the filmmakers (whether heterosexual or queer) and the increasing visibility of the queer community. The festival will offer cinema as a medium to understand what being queer means today and how it impacts both the queer community and the society at large.
“Our vision is to not only encourage original Indian queer cinema but also showcase it to queer and mainstream audiences both, in order to make them aware about Indian queer thought, desire and expression,” says Sridhar Rangayan, festival director. “We want to reach out to as many Indian filmmakers and audiences as we can.”

Bombay Dost has been screening queer themed films for nearly six years. Known as ‘Sunday High’, these events are held twice a month, yet there is a felt need to have a film festival such as Kashish to bring together the audience, the films and their makers.
Kashish will be held between April 22 and April 25, 2010, and will be spread across two venues in Mumbai – one in the city and one in the suburbs. Features, short films, documentaries and experimental films will be screened, highlighting gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender characters and stories. The films will explore the diverse realities, complexities, joys and sorrows that make up the Indian queer experience as well as celebrate, reclaim, and explain LGBTQ identities while engaging and entertaining audiences.

Eminent personalities from films, art, fashion and media and queer activists will be part of Kashish selection committee and jury for its competitive sections, which will carry awards.

The festival will push the envelope even further by including films made outside India but those which relate to the Indian experience – films from the Indian Diaspora. Several prominent desi filmmakers from the US and the UK will exhibit their films at Kashish. In addition, two internationally acclaimed curators will showcase recent cutting-edge queer films from North America and South-East Asia in a special package.
A series of discussions about on Indian queer culture and its portrayal on film, and a photo-exhibition will also be a part of Kashish.

Kashish is being organized by Solaris Pictures and Bombay Dost.

About Solaris Pictures: Solaris Pictures is the only Indian film production company that has consistently been making films on queer themes that engage the audience and initiate dialogues on issues dealing with health and sexuality, human rights, and the gay and transgender communities. Its award-winning films like ‘Gulabi Aaina’, ‘Yours Emotionally’ and ‘68 Pages’, all dealing with gay and transgender stories, have pushed the boundaries in queer portrayals in Indian films. Solaris also distributes Indian queer films in the international markets. (

About Bombay Dost: Bombay Dost, India’s first and only registered LGBT magazine, is a standard bearer for the growing confidence and artistic alacrity displayed by India’s LGBT community. The magazine eschews any notion of ‘them and us’, and mirrors the inclusiveness that we would expect in a more egalitarian society. Bombay Dost was launched in 1990 and after a seven-year hiatus was re-launched as a bi-annual (half-yearly) in April 2009 with support from the UNDP. The magazine boldly showcases LGBT cultural expression and is proud to co-organize Kashish. Bombay Dost also organizes fortnightly film screenings and other events like book readings and community discussions under the name ‘Bombay Dost Sunday High’. These events are free, publicly listed and open to all. (

About the sponsors: Kashish is supported by ‘Movies That Matter’ (an initiative of Amnesty International in the Netherlands), which promotes international human rights film screenings, offers advice and assistance, and stimulates the exchange of knowledge and experience. It offers a platform for feature films and documentaries made by filmmakers taking a stand for human rights and a sustainable world. (

Media sponsor – Notes from Hollywood (

For more details, please contact

Sridhar Rangayan, Festival Director

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