April 04, 2020
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Nishit Saran

The filmmaker on the first open showing of a south Asian gay - Lesbian film fest

Nishit Saran
Why open the film festival to the public?
For eight years it was a closed meet. But since things are changing around us, we thought it would be an appropriate time. To also say that Fire and Summer in My Veins weren't isolated films.

How many films are being made on homosexual themes in India?
Not many. Most of the work is happening in the diaspora.

Then how do you hope to sustain such a festival?
From next year onwards we plan to invite entries from all over the world.

There was a panel discussion on where south Asian gay cinema is headed. What was the conclusion?
It's a tough question. Right now there's a plurality of voices. But as time goes by, the movement will become less underground. There will be funding available from abroad, making films possible locally rather than just the diaspora.

Given the cultural policing in India, was this the appropriate time?
It's weird. The day the cast of Water was attacked, was the day of the festival. This country works at many layers. We did expect trouble, so we had police protection. An injunction was also put forward in the high court but it was too late and we could continue.

Who was behind the high court case?
It's not quite clear. Maybe somebody who wasn't happy with this idea.

What kind of response did the festival evoke?
It was kind of overflowing and the audience was more mixed than the previous years.

Do you plan to enlarge the festival next year?
That is the plan. It's just a matter of getting it all together.

Will you concentrate only on making gay cinema?
Not exclusively. It has to do with what catches my cinematic fancy.

The last couple of years have seen gay issues come to the fore. Has it helped the movement?
Definitely. Fire, for instance, wasn't a great film but it got people talking. It helps every individual who grapples with issues like coming out of the closet, finding partners, etc.

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