Sir Ian McKellen to in­au­gu­rate Kashish 2016

DNA Sunday (Mumbai) - - FRONT PAGE - Yo­gesh Pawar p_ yo­gesh@ dnain­dia. net

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.

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