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Sunday, September 26, 2021

International youth-focused LGBTQIA+ films to open and close KASHISH 2021

"We had to defer the festival earlier planned in May due to the Covid-19 pandemic. But now with these joyful youth films, it will certainly help. What is best is you can watch it from your own homes, not only in India but across the world too," festival director Sridhar Rangayan told The Indian Express.

Written by Anuradha Mascarenhas | Pune |
Updated: August 5, 2021 8:55:48 am
The festival will screen 221 films from 53 countries, of which 55 are competing in nine categories including 'Best Narrative Feature', 'Best Screenplay', 'Best Performance in a Lead Role', 'Best Documentary Feature and Short', 'Best Indian and International Narrative Short' and 'Riyad Wadia Award for Best Emerging Indian Filmmaker'. (Photo Source: Twitter/ KashishMIQFF)

The 12th edition of KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival will virtually open on August 19. South Asia’s biggest LGBTQIA+ film festival will open with the Teddy Award winner, No Hard Feelings, about Iranian refugees in Germany, and will close on September 5 with the Australian film, Unsound, about a young deaf trans man’s romance with a musician.

“We had to defer the festival earlier planned in May due to the Covid-19 pandemic. But now with these joyful youth films, it will certainly help. What is best is you can watch it from your own homes, not only in India but across the world too,” festival director Sridhar Rangayan told The Indian Express.

The festival will screen 221 films from 53 countries, of which 55 are competing in nine categories including ‘Best Narrative Feature’, ‘Best Screenplay’, ‘Best Performance in a Lead Role’, ‘Best Documentary Feature and Short’, ‘Best Indian and International Narrative Short’ and ‘Riyad Wadia Award for Best Emerging Indian Filmmaker’.

“Amid the ongoing challenges across the world, KASHISH wants to bring a ray of hope and a chance to celebrate lives by watching the best of Indian and international films from your homes. We want to be resilient and celebrate the diversity of human experiences through cinema,” Rangayan said.

The opening film No Hard Feelings is about Parvis (Benjamin Radjaipour), the son of exiled Iranians, who is sentenced to community service at a refugee shelter after being caught shoplifting. This is where he meets the siblings Banafshe (Banafshe Hourmazdi) and Amon (Eidin Jalali), who have fled Iran. As a romantic attraction between Parvis and Amon grows, the fragile relationship between the three is put to the test.

The director brings his own personal experience of growing up as a second generation Irani migrant, and also explores his own experiences as a gay man lacking words to talk about his identity.

The closing film Unsound is a heartwarming story of Noah (Reece Noi of Game of Thrones fame), who returns disillusioned to his mother’s home in Sydney, and meets Finn (deaf actress Yiana Pandelis), a proud trans man who works and runs a local centre and nightclub for his deaf community. But as the two become closer, and with no shared language to fall back on, they only risk hurting each other, as they learn to be true to themselves.

“It is so awesome to see that a hearing impaired person has been cast to play the lead part of Finn. This is what diversity and inclusivity in casting is all about,” said Rangayan, adding that registrations were open. There are full festival passes and weekend passes to attend from India and globally too.

Mohini – Men in Sarees: Marathi TV actor Sharmila Rajaram’s first attempt at filmmaking to be featured

Mohini is her first attempt at film-making and she chose documentary style as she loves the adventure that comes with making it, Marathi television actress Sharmila Rajaram Shinde told The Indian Express. She said the hard work that goes into capturing reality is satisfying, and that she loves the real space and real struggles of documentary films.

Mohini follows Shinde as she tries to satiate her curiosity about cross-dresser folk dancers of Maharashtra. After a chance encounter with a male lavani artist, Shinde takes the viewer along on her journey of insights she gathers about the art, history and taboo surrounding the dance form. From the formation of Bin Baykancha Tamasha, an all-male lavani troupe, to the hurdles that a homophobic Indian society creates in the artistic expression of male lavani dancers, the film shows the glittery side of painted faces as well as the dark side after the curtains fall.

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