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'Ray of hope' for gay cinema as Indian film festival lands in Europe

Kashish Mumbai International Queer Film Festival arrives in Britain, screening movies at one of London's oldest cinemas
Kashish Mumbai International Queer Film Festival arrives in Britain, screening movies at one of London's oldest cinemas

An Indian filmmaker will be bringing Mumbai's gay film festival to Britain, screening work in venues including one of London's oldest cinemas.

Sridhar Rangayan will show movies from the Kashish Mumbai International Queer Film Festival, as well as a collection of his own films, in Brighton and the UK capital from now until 30 November.

On Monday (27 November), the festival's co-director will bring his LGBT film reel to London's historic Old Cinema in Regent Street, where the fathers of modern filmmaking the Lumière Brothers showed their film in 1896.

The event presented by the University of Westminster's India Media Center will feature Rangayan’s ‘Gulabi Aaina (The Pink Mirror)’, along with award-winning short films from Kashish such as ‘Amen’, ‘Kusum (The Flower Bud)’, ‘Logging Out’ and ‘Raat Baaki (Night is Young).

'I am tremendously excited to screen the films at one of Britain’s oldest theaters, said Rangayan.

'It is a rare honor and I am greatly looking forward to this event.'

He added: 'The journey of "Gulabi Aaina" began in UK in 2003 and it is wonderful to return here after more than a decade to screen it again.'

It is hoped the screenings will promote and raise awareness of LGBT issues in India.

Rangayan will also take part in a round-table discussion on the role of film culture in gay public life, along with other festival programmers from London and New York, at Brighton's Cine City tomorrow (24 November).

'I’m glad to share this platform with programmers from very established film festivals. Kashish is young, but we have an unique story to tell,' the filmmaker said.

'Coming from a country where homosexuality was until recently criminalized and is still a social taboo, our festival has made great strides in mainstreaming queer visibility.'

Rangayan will also screen clips of his own films and lead a discussion with students at the University of West London on 30 November.

The Queer India European Tour will then visit Ireland, Poland and finally Sweden.

Ranadeep Bhattacharya and Judhajit Bagchi, directors of film 'Amen', said they are excited their work will now be seen by a much wider audience.

'It’s normally difficult to screen short films on gender and sexuality to a large audience in India but with Kashish film festival, filmmakers like us have a new ray of hope,' they said.

'And now with our film "Amen" being a part of the Queer India European Tour, we are ecstatic. It's both overwhelming and encouraging to the entire team as now our stories are ready to be shared with the world.'

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