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Bollywood stars tickled pink at gay film festival opening

Actress Moushumi Chatterjee attends star-studded opening gala of Kashish, India's only queer film festival in Mumbai
Moushumi Chatterjee attends India's only queer film festival in Mumbai

Vintage Bollywood star Moushumi Chatterjee and filmmaker Sai Paranjpye opened the third Kashish Mumbai International Queer Film Festival yesterday (24 May).

The star-studded red carpet event at the Indian city's Cinemax Versova kicked off five days of celebrating LGBT filmmaking, with 120 films from 30 countries to be shown at two venues from 23 May to 27 May.

'I wish Kashish all the success,’' said Moushumi Chatterjee, who also inaugurated an art exhibition called Celebrating the lost art of Bollywood billboards with a queer twist.

She added: 'We are all human and we are one. I am happy to be here for Kashish. The greatest gift of humanity is the ability to love and I do not believe that love should be the reason to discriminate against anyone.'

Paranjpye lit the ceremonial lamp to declare India's only queer film festival open along with gay activist and founder of Humsafar Trust Ashok Row Kavi.

She that it was the second consecutive year that she was part of the festival – in 2011 she headed the jury – and was impressed with the strides that the festival had taken in the last three years.

'I am happy to be here and be a part of this exciting movement. It is completely mesmerising,' she said.

Yesterday's opening also saw stars from the film, theatre and modelling world, including actors Suchitra Pillai, Liliput and Dolly Thakore and filmmaker Anant Mahadevan.

Highlights of the festival include Rites of Passage, about an Indian woman in the US having gender realignment surgery, We Are Outsiders, about the traditional Indian Hijra community and Family Khusreyan Di, a mainstream comedy in which a Hijra saves a village.

American filmmaker Rob Williams was chosen as the Filmmaker in Focus and will attend the festival and present three of his most popular films: Long-Term Relationship, Make the Yuletide Gay and Role/Play, with Q&A sessions and a panel discussion.

The festivals shorts packages cover Girls Shorts (lesbian themed), Rainbow Warriors (queer people who have made a difference), Indian Masala Mix (young Indian filmmakers), Red Ribbon package (films on HIV/AIDS), Urban Longings (about meetings and departings in a city), Unfair Games (homophobia in sports), Family Ties (about the queer person and their families) and QToons (animations with queer themes).

Read more about the background to Kashish with Gay Star News’ interview with festival co-director Pallav Patankar.

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