Sir Ian McKellen to inaugurate Kashish 2016
One of the most successful British stars, Sir Ian McKellen, will inaugurate the 7th edition of South Asia’s biggest and India’s only mainstream LGBT film festival Kashish Mumbai International Queer Film Festival.
“On my first visit to Mumbai, I am very pleased to attend the opening night of Kashish 2016,” said McKellen. “For many years, gay characters appeared in films only as comic relief. Increasingly, in India too, the film industry has matured, treating gay people with the same seriousness as straight characters. I look forward to discovering more about Bollywood filmmakers who reject fantasy for the truth.”
McKellen will be in India as part of Shakespeare Lives on Film, on the occasion of the Bard’s 400th death anniversary. Having essayed many Shakespearean roles, he’s globally known for his parts in blockbuster Hollywood movies — Gandalf in The Lord of The Rings trilogy and The Hobbit Trilogy and Magneto in the X- Men movies. He has won six Laurence Olivier Awards, a Tony Award, a Golden Globe, a Screen Actors Guild Award, a BIF Award, 2 Saturn Awards, four Drama Desk Awards and two Critics’ Choice Awards.
The film festival will be held from May 25 to 29 at three venues — Liberty cinema, Alliance de Francaise and Max Mueller Bhavan. Over 182 films from 53 countries will be screened. McKellen will be the chief guest at the opening ceremony at Liberty cinema.
The theme this year is 7 Shades of Love. It underlines that at the core of human rela- tionships is the capacity to love each other and offer respect so that each person can live with equality and dignity.
Festival director Sridhar Rangayan said it seemed quite apt that the festival is to be inaugurated by one of the most internationally acclaimed actors who is also a strong voice for equal rights. “Sir Ian McKellen is an institution by himself He is a big inspiration for the LGBTQ community across the world. Kashish 2016 is hon- oured to have him. We are grateful to the British Council and BFI for enabling this.”
Voted as one of the top five LGBT film festivals in the world, Kashish is India’s first mainstream fest to be held with approval from the information and broadcasting ministry, government of India.
The international jury this year will comprise Rajeshwari Sachdev, Manav Gohil, Parvathi Balagopalan, Kaizaad Kotwal and Nuremberg International Human Rights Film Festival director Andrea Kuhn. Rangayan also announced the launching of QDrishti Film Grant, sponsored by Lotus Visual, which offers Rs1 lakh to a filmmaker to make his or her next film.
Also, actor and filmmaker Anupam Kher’s Actor Prepares has sponsored cash prizes for the three top competition categories — Rs30,000 for the best narrative feature, Rs20,000 for the best Indian narrative short and Rs20,000 for the best performance in a lead role. Wadia Movietone has instituted a cash award of Rs15,000 for the Riyad Wadia Award for the best emerging Indian filmmaker. The other competition categories are best documentary feature, best documentary short and best international narrative short.
The festival is presented by Kashish Arts Foundation and organised by Solaris Pictures and co- organised by the Humsafar Trust. “Kashish opens the doors for the LGBT community in India to our planetary presence with its joys, sorrows and, many a time, despair too. It is a celebration of our very existence in the social landscape of humankind,” said Ashok Row Kavi, founder- chairperson of Humsafar Trust.