A varied platform

The air was filled with laughter, and an infectious ease readily settled over everyone. As yet another Bengaluru Queer Film Festival (BQFF) swept by, it left in its wake an exuberant aura of inclusivity that pushed aside gender binaries and more. Instead, it made space for different forms of expression, personal and artistic.

Unlike most film festivals held in the City, BQFF wasn't just about hurrying to catch as many movies as possible. It turned into a space for interaction. The courtyards of Alliance Francaise and Goethe/Max Mueller Bhavan were at all times flooded with people who shrugged off societal constraints that are otherwise hard to escape.

The festival acted as a safe space for everyone as they shifted from movie screenings, readings and performances to casual meet ups and gatherings.

Many took the chance to bend gender 'rules' by cross dressing while others kicked them aside completely. Like every year, a fabulous selection of movies were screened (some less so than the others, of course). And the auditoriums were filled nearly all the time. A BQFF trademark, the Pink Divas, a gender-bending dance group, performed to a good selection of item numbers which was received warmly. The reading sessions included A Revathi and Ashley Tellis, who exuded humour and relevance.

Talking about the film festival, organiser Vinay Chandran said, "For the longest time, as the LGBT community, we looked at self affirmation. One of the only avenues we have is cinema (apart from literature, which has always existed. A more visual representation is always welcome). But until recently our relationship with cinema has always been... interpreted. We see it and connect with it, we see it and interpret in way that applies to us. If it's a hero and a heroine, we feel no connection with them; we have to place the hero in our heads and connect with them in some way.

So the development of a festival like this, performances like these, is about saying that we don't have to 'work with it', and this is you or many of us. Therefore, it connects with lot of people." It was indeed a connect for many, regardless of their gender and sexuality.

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