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

    Opening doors
    About Aditya Joshia��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, Darwaazea��starring Sanyogeeta Bhave, a Marathi and Hindi TV/film actressa��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. a�?Whether she (the wife) and her husband accept them is the story of Darwaaze,a�? says Joshi.

    Early struggles
    Relating the journey of discovering his sexuality, he states, a�?I was raised in a typical Maharashtrian family, where the only reference to the word a�?gaya�� was through homophobic slurs.a�? 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 parentsa�� house in Mumbai was a huge deal for him. a�?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,a�? he states happily.

    The road ahead
    Darwaaze was inspired by the directora��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, a�?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.a�? The director, who appreciates how Kapoor & Sons subtly dealt with homosexuality, feels that, a�?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.a�? 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 a�?gaya�� after meeting a rather privileged gay man.July 29-31. 3 pm onward. At Goethe Institut. Free entry. Details: 28331314

    Talking about the selection process, Felix S, an Orinam NGO volunteer for 15 years, says, a�?Films are discussed, dissected, cross referenced and, in some cases, explained to one another, and then approved or regretteda��with a riot of laughter and a deep understanding of things.a�? He says the documentary Cecil & Carl, by Elvis Leon and GastA?n Yvorra is a must watch.

    L Ramakrishnan, a volunteer with the NGO SAATHII and part of the team that is curating the festival, says that Reel Desires 2016 comes in the wake of the Supreme Courta��s recent positive decision a�?to refer the curative petitions on Section 377 to a five-judge constitutional bencha�?. His pick of directors to watch out for are Siri Rodnes (Take Your Partners) and Zameer Kamble (Closet).

    a�� Simar Bhasin

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