3 LGBTQ Programs by KASHISH at Kala Ghoda Arts Festival

KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival, South Asia’s biggest LGBTQIA+ film festival joins hands with Kala Ghoda Arts Festival, one of the oldest festivals in India, to bring an exciting line-up of gay, lesbian and transgender focus short films as well as a panel discussion.

Sridhar Rangayan, festival director of KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival said, “This is the third year in succession that KASHISH is collaborating with Kala Ghoda Arts Festival, this time virtually. As one of the leading platforms in India curating and programming LGBTQIA+ content, we try to create a year-round slate of programming with other film festivals in India and across the world and also with organizations and corporates. We want to spread the message of rainbow love!”

“The Kala Ghoda Arts Festival has been synonymous with Mumbai city for over two decades now. The festival has always echoed the plurality of cultures in every form – be it the arts or its people. KASHISH MIQFF represents an integral sub sect – the LGBTQIA+ community and their artistic expression thereof with cinema. We are proud to collaborate with KASHISH MIQFF for bringing a superlative showcase of queer themed short films. Further to this, a panel discussion of ‘Trans representation in mainstream Media’ is timely and relevant. I hope these events are attended by all at the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival 2021, virtually from the comfort of their homes”, said Rohini Ramnathan, Content Director, Kala Ghoda Arts Festival 2021.

The 31st Kala Ghoda Arts Festival will actually kickstart on February 6th with the Best of KASHISH – International program of 6 short films that showcases the diversity of global LGBTQ experiences in Brazil, Macedonia, Taiwan, UK and USA. These have been award winners or audience favourites at the KASHISH 2020 Virtual edition held last year in July. This program that starts at 10am will be available for 48 hours for people in India who register here.

This will be followed on the same day at 12 noon with a panel discussion titled ‘Trans Representation in Mainstream Media’, by bringing together actors and content creators to discuss how has been the representation of transgender women in feature films released recently in theaters or OTT platforms. The speakers are award winning director Ranjith Sankar, who has directed the fim Njan Marykutty with Jayasurya in the lead role of a transgender character; popular actor Ashish Sharma, who played the eponymous role of Khejdi; real life transgender activist and actor Rudrani Chhetri, who plays Anarkali in The Last Colour; and Benjamin Daimary, who played the transgender character Maina in Jonaki Porura and Pradipta Ray, filmmaker & actor who did the dance Electric Piya in Gangs of Wasseypur. The panel is moderated by filmmaker & festival director Sridhar Rangayan.

Ashish Sharma, producer and lead actor of Khejdi said, “I as an actor and an individual strongly feel that such discussions on inclusivity are very essential to bring about a sense of acceptance from all corners of professional environment. An individual irrespective of gender choice is empowered if they are independent and are financially secure and that can only happen if equal professional opportunities are provided and an inclusive healthy work environment is created. It is a two way street, society needs to be accepting and accommodating and that’s why people like me who represent so called ‘society’ should be a part of these conversations to make it accepting and de-stigmatising.”

Some of the points being discussed in the panel are – How do these films in Malayalam, Rajasthani, Hindi and Assamese show the local realities of trans lives? Do these trans portrayals reflect real lives, real issues and real situations of the trans community? How can we create a more inclusive space for real-life trans actors? This panel can be accessed here.

Next week on Friday February 12th, KASHISH will present a set of 6 short films from India in its Best of KASHISH – Indian program. Once again it is a free event accessible for 48 hours to those who register here.

The 12th edition of KASHISH will be held from May 20-30th as a Hybrid event – combining online as well as on-ground programs. This year too, like every year, the festival has announced an international poster contest in the name of ace fashion designer late Wendell Rodricks, with a cash award of Rs.25,000 to the designers who will design the look of KASHISH 2021 with the theme ‘Unlock With Pride’. Details about the contest can be viewed here.