The organizers of ‘Kashish 2012’, India’s only LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender) festival, are not just gay, but also happy and gay (no pun intended). The reason? Well, the said festival that started from May 23-27 has been received without any protest by anyone so far.
The organizers claim that even if protests do happen at the film festival site, they would reserve seats for the protestors so that they ‘understand’ what queer is all about. Pallav Patankar (one of the festival directors) said that this year, despite the fact that they have acquired permissions even from the Maharashtra Government’s State Secretariat and the local police, they have not encountered any major homophobia. He also added that many government agencies were curious about the film festival. And when they understand the meaning of ‘queer’, they were more than happy to accept the same. While the theme of ‘Kashish 2012’ is ‘For Everyone’, this year also marks the third edition of the same. This year will see the screening of 125 films, all of which has been programmed in a manner where queer characters and queer stories are part of a larger narrative, which the organizers hope appeals to a wide cross section of audience.
Sridhar Rangayan (one of the festival directors) said that both the opening film Beginners and the closing film Weekend reflected the theme best. And the reason he stated was that they were necessarily queer films because they are love stories that are human. While Beginners is as much about Ewan McGregor and his relationship with his girlfriend as it is about Christopher Plummer and his gay lover, Weekend is about two people meeting over a weekend and falling in love. Rangayan also added that these films bridge the divide between queer and mainstream films, rather blur them. The organizers said that several celebrities were expected to not just participate, but attend the festival as well.
Meanwhile, Sridhar opined the organizers would love to have a queer film category within the mainstream film festival or have a queer award in a mainstream film festival like the ‘Teddy Awards’ at the Berlin International Film Festival.