Dealing with sensitive issues

Dealing with sensitive issues

Film-maker and activist Sridhar Rangayan’s many travel experiences and interactions with the members of sexual minorities has thrown up ‘Purple Skies’, a documentary film about lesbians, bisexuals and transmen, living in prominent cities across the country.

The film has been shown at several film festivals, including the recently concluded Bangalore Queer Film Festival (BQFF). He explains that more than curiosity, it is his eagerness to engage with and narrate the stories of people from this community that inspired him to encompass their tales into a documentary. “I travelled to different cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Darjeeling and Ahmedabad to interact with people and I found Mumbai to be the most warm and welcoming to people belonging to this community.

There were a lot of people willing to speak on the camera. Making the movie was a great learning process,” he shares.

The documentary weaves together experiences of those from the sexual minorities victimised and subjugated by the law, the family and society, as well as hopeful stories of youngsters who have bravely come out of the closet, explains Sridhar. “There are a lot of people who are slowly coming out of the closet and revealing their identities. I think they have to first be the agents of change to bring about a change in the society,” he adds.      
The idea behind making the documentary is to place the historic struggle of the community, juxtaposing personal lives with stories and a critical analysis of issues by activists and advocates. “Those who have struggled with their identities and have managed to emerge strong don’t want to go back into the closet. The first challenge for anybody from the LGBT community is acceptance of who they are and fighting for their space in society is the next challenge,” he says. He adds, “They are constantly battling against being exploited both from within their own communities and by the society at large.”

Sridhar also observes that the Section 377 has unleashed a lot of fear and anxiety among the members of the community. “The atrocities being unleashed in the name of Section 377 is the latest fear that they have to deal with. While making the film, I also realised that I was building a sense of trust among the members and indirectly
fuelling their confidence to walk with their head held high,” he reasons.  

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