Coming out in the open

Queer film festival

Coming out in the open

The three-day fifth Bangalore Queer Film Festival that was held in the City recently attracted a large number of people from the queer community.

 It turned out to be a perfect forum for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community to discuss and debate issues nagging them. There were people from the neighbouring cities as well.

Put together by ‘Good As You’, ‘We’re Here and Queer’, Swabhava and ‘Pirat Dykes’, the annual event carefully selects queer films from all over the world. The festival showcased a few films and documentaries that were made around the community. This edition of the festival had 55 films from 20 countries which comprised seven full-length feature films, 18 short fiction films, six short films, six experimental films and 18 documentaries that were shown over three days.

Sharing his experience of organising the festival year after year, Vinay Chandran, the festival director observes that the festival has only grown bigger in the last four years. “We’ve seen more people come, talk and discuss various issues. Today, the scene is much better than what it was a few years ago. At least those belonging to the LGBT community are ready to come out into the open, which was not the case a few years ago,” he says.    
The films were not necessarily made by those from the LGBT community. These have been made by people who have interacted with the community and moved around with them. “Most of the films that were selected have been chosen after much thought and discussion. There are good films, bad ones and those in the average category as well. But all said and done, they are entertaining,” adds Vinay.

Dolly, an IT professional, made a movie called Bahaar, which deals with the issue of bisexual women and their sexual preferences.

“People have begun talking about it but not everyone is open to accepting people with different sexual preferences. The discrimination still persists,” says Dolly, whose film was well-received by the audiences.

Rohan Kanawade, who wrote and directed ‘Lonely Walls’, says that the story is inspired by a real-life incident of a gay father and a gay son. “The father didn’t know his son was gay and the son too was ignorant about it. But the twist to the tale is when the two come to know about it. People must have the freedom to choose their sexual preferences. Rather than hiding it, people must talk about it. Only debate and discussion will change societal perception,” reasons Rohan.

Rakesh Sabharwal, who has produced a film on lesbians titled Tamaso Maa Jyotir Gamaya, thinks, “There are LGBTs and that’s the truth which we have to live with. The film is about lesbians and MMS through which their vulnerability is exploited. The MMS is the most dangerous weapon and the story captures the lives of a few girls who fall victim to an MMS,” he explains.

There were those at the event who didn’t have any qualms talking about their sexuality. Poorva Rajaram, co-organiser of the festival and a student at JNU, says, “My family is aware about my sexual preferences and I think it helps to talk about it. What’s wrong in having the freedom to choose your sexuality?”

Nithin, a lecturer at Mount Carmel College, feels that the situation hasn’t changed much. “The LGBTs, who belong to the urban middle class, have the privacy of their homes but what about those who don’t have that privilege. They are the worst affected,” says Nithin, who feels the situation was better a few years ago.

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