A celebration of the LGBTQIA+ community

KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival (MIQFF) 2022 kicked off with a bang at the Liberty Cinema in Mumbai on June 1. KASHISH is a festival dedicated to LGBTQIA+ films from around the world. This year’s opening night hosts were Paras Tomar and Renil Abraham. Festival director Sridhar Rangayan, advisory board members Arunaraje Patil and Dolly Thakore, and actress Divya Dutta lit the inaugural lamp.

This year’s theme, Flights for Freedom, was unique and dear to heart because amid the pandemic, it was difficult for members of the LGBTQIA+ community to stay with their families as they were unable to express their sexuality or lived a double life during Their families. Since the livelihoods of the transgender community have also been hampered by the lockdown, they just wanted to celebrate the doors opening with the pandemic dispersing and us flying out in full force.

The five-day festival which ended today featured 184 films from 53 countries. Of these, 30 films were from India, making it the country with the most films exhibited at the festival.

“As a filmmaker, I have traveled all over the world and attended film festivals. I wanted to recreate the unique experience of Mumbai by bringing ordinary people and LGBTQIA+ people together to meet and share their personal stories. This is what inspired me to launch KASHISH in 2010,” said Sridhar Rangayan.

A prize, “Kashish Rainbow Voices”, was instituted this year to recognize artists who have given voice to the LGBTQIA+ community. The winners were Negha Sabapathy, a transgender actress who stars in KASHISH’s opening film Antharam, Rajshri Deshpande for The Fame Game, director-producer duo Faraz Ansari and Marijke deSouza; starring Divya Dutta and Swara Bhasker from Sheer Qorma, which premiered at KASHISH yesterday.

On the opening night of the festival, Color Positive, the LGBTQIA+ organization, presented the dance and fashion show.

Antharam (Separation), the festival’s opening film, focused on the family and love life of the trans woman, which sets it apart from other trans films. According to Abhijith Pulparambath, director of Antharam, he has been caring for trans people for 15 years and has seen them fight for their basic rights. “That was my inspiration to create something dedicated to these women,” he said.

UK-based Shiva Raichandani, director of Queer Parivaar, whose film was part of the International Narrative Short Film Competition II, said: “The intention was always to create something that we never saw grow. : happy stories of trans and non-binary people. prosperous! As this is a film about queer joy and celebration, it felt right to be able to share this with select families and communities in South Asia. I am a trans, non-binary, feminine, queer person of color who wants to continue creating stories that are gendered and hopeful for ourselves. To be able to be screened in such a prestigious festival as KASHISH is a bonus and we are honored by this opportunity!” He admitted that he would have liked to have known about the community and its activities sooner. am never truly alone. That there is a wonderful, supportive and vibrant community that has paved the way for us and will continue to guide us hand in hand.

The film festival is a dialogue about love, acceptance and kindness that can bring immense healing to the life and world of the LGBTQIA+ community as a whole.

The main attraction of the festival was Sheer Qorma. Faraz Ansari, the director of Sheer Qorma, called this film his love letter to hate. Being himself a member of the community, the subject was close to his heart. “I knew I liked boys when I was four. So my queer identity has always been a celebration and a badge of honor for me. Of course, that comes with its own challenges, but as a As queer people, we learn to make the most of those experiences and turn them into our pride. That’s the true superpower of the LGBTQIA+ community. We’re all superheroes in our own right.

Was that the driving force behind the making of this film? “Sheer Qorma was created because I felt there was an urgent need for an authentic and honest portrayal of homosexuality in mainstream Indian cinema. Fortunately, Shabana Azmi ji, Divya Dutta and Swara Bhasker were part of this journey with producer Marijke deSouza…making our film as mainstream as possible so that we reach a wider audience not only in India but also around the world.”

Faraz was grateful that his film was selected as the highlight of the centerpiece film for 2022. “KASHISH has always been our intention and our goal when it comes to our big premiere in Mumbai. I couldn’t ask for a better platform.

Finally, Sridhar Rangayan advised LGBTQIA+ people that coming out of the closet is a concentric circle, and you should stand in front of the mirror and say to yourself, “This is who I am.

“Coming out takes a lot of courage and effort. Give your parents time to understand and accept you. If it takes so many years to understand and accept each other in terms of sexuality, why not give your parents time to understand and accept you? You can’t find everything in one person. Find someone to share your life with and make that relationship work,” he concluded.

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Darcy J. Skinner