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    In its fourth edition, LGBT film festival, Reel Desires, is back with 26 films spanning eight countries

    SHORT films, features , documentaries and performances — Reel Desires, the three-day festival organised by Orinam (the local collective fighting for LGBT rights) and other NGOs, aims to showcase the community’s global struggle for acceptance.

    Opening doors
    About Aditya Joshi’s short film, Darwaaze, our pick from the festival
    Aditya Joshi ,29, a research student in Mumbai, identifies himself as a gay man and his directorial debut deals with the issue of homosexuality in a modern Indian set up. His short movie, Darwaaze—starring Sanyogeeta Bhave, a Marathi and Hindi TV/film actress—will have its world premiere at the upcoming LGBTQ film festival, Reel Desires, in the city on July 30. Based on a story in Marathi written by Joshi, it is about a Maharashtrian couple who befriends two men living next door and discovers that they are homosexual. “Whether she (the wife) and her husband accept them is the story of Darwaaze,” says Joshi.

    Early struggles
    Relating the journey of discovering his sexuality, he states, “I was raised in a typical Maharashtrian family, where the only reference to the word ‘gay’ was through homophobic slurs.” The first-time director shares that he was bullied through his school and college years. He further adds that shooting the movie, which was filmed on a budget of under `20,000 (with all the actors working for free), at his parents’ house in Mumbai was a huge deal for him. “They were around for the complete shoot. That, in a way, was a strong message for me. My parents had opened the darwaaze (doors) of their hearts for me,” he states happily.

    The road ahead
    Darwaaze was inspired by the director’s own experience of living in a rented apartment in Pune in 2012. As part of the research for the film, which was shot in under four days, he says, “We conducted a survey and found that one in five LGBTQ Indians had faced problems in their rented accommodation due to their sexual orientation or gender identity.” The director, who appreciates how Kapoor & Sons subtly dealt with homosexuality, feels that, “When the non-queer society sees there are LGBTQ people in their offices, friend circles and extended families, they will think about changing their outlook.” Joshi has worked on a project called Saathi Connect, which included a web series and a book on LGBTQ issues. He is currently working on a story about a gay autorickshaw driver who discovers the word ‘gay’ after meeting a rather privileged gay man.
    July 29-31. 3 pm onward. At Goethe Institut. Free entry. Details: 28331314

    — Simar Bhasin

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