Six years on from its maiden edition, Kashish continues to proudly wave the flag for LGBT rights. South Asia’s only mainstream queer film festival is back this year with its highest ever number of films (180, sourced from 44 countries), as well as a special package of films from Asian countries where hostilities against LGBT communities still exist.
Working the crowd
“The theme for 2015 is Reaching Out, Touching Hearts, reflecting the urgent need to reach across boundaries,” says filmmaker and festival director Sridhar Rangayan. “We need to build alliances across race, class, religion, sex, gender identity and sexual orientation to challenge prejudice,” he elaborates. Films, he feels, are an excellent way to do this because of their aural visual connect, which can help form an emotional bond with the viewer. Previous editions have attracted support from diverse quarters, including actress Celina Jaitly and head of Godrej India Culture Lab Parmesh Shahani.
With audience engagement in mind, crowdfunding is an integral part of the festival, with a proportion of the funds coming from well-wishers. “It invigorates, motivates and challenges people to come forward and show their support in any way they can. It is a ripple effect of enthusiasm that pours in — not just money, but a lot of goodwill,” says Rangayan. While films have been sourced from all over the world, look out for a particularly wide range of classic and contemporary films from Australia, the country ‘in focus’ this year. “Ultimately, the films give us a sense of hope that change is possible,” Rangayan signs off.
May 27-31 at venues
across Mumbai. Details:
At the movies
Sridhar Rangayan narrows 180 films down to three
Boy Meets Girl (USA)
In a line: A poignant, romantic coming-of age-comedy about three young people
Love it because: It shows the transgender person comfortable in her skin, starring trans-woman actor, Michelle Hendley
Love is Strange (USA)
In a line: A same-sex couple from Manhattan gets married after 39 years together, but things are not as straight-forward as they had hoped
Love it because: The two main leads are amazing actors who bring out the nuances of ‘greying gays’
In a line: A retired, widowed army officer becomes the unlikely champion of the rights of a group of hijras
Love it because: It is a film with heart. While it is basically a
comedy, what is awesome is
that it laughs with the
characters and not at them
—Maegan Dobson Sippy