Last edited: April 29, 2004

Film Fest With a Difference

The Times of India, January 4, 2004
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By Neil Pate, Times News Network

PUNE—For some gays and lesbians the film festival was a catharsis of emotions while for some others its was coming out of the closet and celebrating their very existence.

LarzishTremors of a Revolution, the 1st International Film Festival of Sexuality and Gender Plurality held in Pune on Sunday received an overwhelming response from the gay, lesbians, bisexuals and other sexually marginalised people from the city.

Replete with award-winning feature films, documentaries, short-films, the festival organised by city based lesbian support group OLAVA (Organised Lesbian Alliance for Visibility and Action) in association with the India Centre for Human Rights and Law (ICHRL) and Humjinsi, a Mumbai based support group for lesbians sensibly dealt with issues related to the sexually marginalised people.

Chatura, an activist from Olava, who spearheaded in organising the film festival told TNN on Sunday that the main aim of the film-fest was to bring together the gay community.

“Besides entertainment, the festival has provided a safe space for like-minded people to interact, discuss issues pertaining to sexually marginalised people,” Chatura said.

Explaining the meaning of the term Larzish, Chatura said: “Larzish in Urdu means, from the slightest trembles of the lip to the tremors of a revolution.”

A total of 12 films and documentaries on sexuality and gender, ranging from 15 minutes to one hour, the films’ lucidity explored the complexities of gender amongst the queer, gay, lesbian, trans-gender, bisexual, bent, deviant, kothi, eunuch, hijra, panthi, and drag queen community in India.

Some of the films screened in the one-day festival were Gulabi Aaina, Plain Truth, Tales of Night Fairies, Beauty Parlour, Tampon Manual, Womb on One’s Own, Women in Black, Grass is Greener, Gender Trouble, Era Mela Mela and Brother Outsider among others. However, the star attraction of the film festival was Berlin Package films.

Besides sexual minorities, the festival saw a huge chunk of heterosexual audience as well. City based film critique cum writer Gayatri Chatterji said the films showcased in the festival not only raised visibility, but also opened up spaces for discussion on issues of homosexuality.

“Some of the films dealt women’s issues, violence against women and sex workers in a broad spectrum. We should have these kind of festival more often in Pune,” Chatterji averred.

In addition to the films, hitting the nail on the head were the brainstorming debates and discussions after the film screenings.

Impressed by a pack-house audience turnout, city based gay activists R Raj Rao, founder of the Queer Study Circle (QSC) said, “The festival was a true reminder of unity. It’s time all the gay and lesbian support groups came together and organised such programmes regularly under one roof,” Raj Rao said.

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