BREAK­ING BOUND­ARIES

This year’s Kashish Mum­bai In­ter­na­tional Queer Fes­ti­val will screen al­most 150 films on the LGBTQ com­mu­nity

India Today - - LEISURE -

As the LGBTQ (les­bian, gay, bi­sex­ual, trans­gen­der and queer) of In­dia con­tinue their bat­tle to de­crim­i­nalise ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity and seek equal rights, there is one ini­tia­tive that has been sen­si­tis­ing peo­ple about the com­mu­nity through the medium of cin­ema. In 2010, film­maker and ac­tivist Srid­har Ran­gayan got ap­proval from the Union min­istry for in­for­ma­tion and broad­cast­ing to or­gan­ise the Kashish Mum­bai In­ter­na­tional Queer Fes­ti­val. “Kashish is both a plat­form for ad­vo­cacy and en­ter­tain­ment,” says Ran­gayan. “It in­tends to serve two pur­poses—a pride event for the com­mu­nity where they can watch films and find a res­o­nance of their own lives across the world; [and] an event where main­stream au­di­ences could watch LGBTQ films to un­der­stand... [and] in­ter­act with the com­mu­nity.”

In its eighth year, the fes­ti­val will fea­ture 147 films from 45 coun­tries, from May 24-28. “The qual­ity of films has gone up, es­pe­cially of In­dian films,” says Ran­gayan, adding that In­dia has 29 films—fea­tures, doc­u­men­taries and shorts. He wishes, how­ever, that the films had a shelf life be­yond the fes­ti­val. “If these reach out to mass au­di­ences it will cre­ate a revo­lu­tion,” he says.

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