Shades of the rainbow
The judicial verdict on Section 377 in September 2018, which decriminalised mutual consent homosexual sex, has spurred things in the right direction. “However, a lot more needs to be done,” says Suresh Ramdas, Mr Gay World India 2019, who will be speaking at Out and Loud — Pune International Queer Film Festival, to be held later this week.
Started in 2017 by the LGBTQ collective, Mist, Out and Loud brings together films and discussions centred on issues affecting the queer community and other marginalised sections of society. “We wanted to create a space where people from within and outside the queer community could have an open dialogue, while also creating awareness on the subject,” says Shyam Konnur, the festival director and the founder of Mist.
This year, more than 50 films will be showcased at the film festival, which will open with the award-winning 2018 film Evening Shadows, on April 18. Directed by Sridhar Rangayan and starring Mona Ambegaonkar, Ananth Mahadevan, Devansh Doshi and Arpit Chaudhary, the film portrays the dilemma of parents from a town in Kerala when their children come out of the closet. “It is tougher for parents of smaller towns to cope with this. While they cannot share the secret, they cannot even understand their child’s confession as they think it is abnormal and perverse,” explains Rangayan, who adopted humour to gently take the audience through the narrative. “Our patriarchal structure marginalises any minority. The mother cannot understand her son’s choices as she herself is disempowered. The film is as much about her coming out as a woman as her son coming out as a gay,” adds the director. Some of the other films to be screened at the festival include The Story of Stone, an honest depiction of a gay couple in Taipei.
The Canadian film Laurence Anyways is a romantic drama on the dilemma of a man named Laurence who becomes a transgender woman. It won the Queer Palm Award at the Cannes Film Festival. The festival will also host A Delicate Love, which portrays the fantasies of a man when he falls in love with an older man, and the French film, Tomboy, the story of a young tomboy girl who experiments with her gender identity. The film festival is aimed to be a platform where the LGBTQ community and its allies can come together and address the issues of marginalisation and sensitisation. Panel discussions will be held on each day of the festival, to cover a range of issues. Konnur says, “With the panel discussions, we wanted to take the festival beyond films towards an open space that speaks about intersectional inclusion.”
“While the corporate world has started the journey towards inclusiveness, what about the basic rights of underprivileged transgender people? We need to bring the entire community towards the mainstream,” says Sonali Dalvi, a transgender activist who will speak on the panel titled ‘Faces from the Trans-Community’ on the first day. The panel will discuss the issue of discrimination and stigma faced by queer community members in different walks of life.
Source : Pune Mirror