Actor Rajit Kapur and filmmaker Onir said that LGBTQ films will not get prominence unless the mainstream media prometes them. After the Supreme Court repealed Section 377 off the Indian Penal Code, the struggle will remain static if the mainstream media does not write enough abouyt independent films and films with LGBTQ content.
At a panel discussion at the 20th Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival Ranjit Kumar said, "This paid publicity practice is so wrong. What is the media doing? They are interested to write on 'who is wearing what', 'airport looks', which celebrity sneezed and visited doctors. But they are not interested to write on a film that is independent or has an LGBTQ story."
"Wake up media, sorry to be blunt but what are you guys are doing?"
Onir said, "After the decision was announced by the Supreme Court regarding Section 377, so many journalists called me to know my opinion. But when my films release or travel to festivals, nobody bothered to write a single article on them unless I can pay a huge amount of money. Getting publicity and support from media is so challenging now because of the 'paid media' practice."
(1/2) We’re having important conversations at MAMI that have been long overdue in the film industry. Gender equality and LGBTQ representation were a central focus for discussion. If you weren't able to attend, watch key moments here. #JioMAMIwithStar2018 pic.twitter.com/tFPU6LHRpC— JioMAMIwithStar (@MumbaiFilmFest) October 31, 2018
The panel discussion was also graced by Vandana Kataria, Sridhar Rangayan and was moderated by Rohini Ramanathan.
While the panelists appreciated the fact that this year, around 10 films that touch upon the topic of LGBTQ are being screened at the Mumbai Film Festival, Onir believes that along with films, TV content should also embrace LGBTQ stories.
"The reach of television is 10 times greater than the cinema that we release in theatre. The practice of watching TV is so old that not very soon in a rural area, it will get replaced by Netflix. Reaching out to OTT platforms with our community's stories is like feeding some well-fed people," said Onir, who has made films like "My Brother Nikhil", "Bas Ek Pal", "Sorry Bhai" and "I Am".
(2/2) We’re having important conversations at MAMI that have been long overdue in the film industry. Gender equality and LGBTQ representation were a central focus for discussion. If you weren't able to attend, watch key moments here. #JioMAMIwithStar2018 pic.twitter.com/89OwYmvFvM— JioMAMIwithStar (@MumbaiFilmFest) October 31, 2018
He spoke about the problems he faced in releasing his films, "In my journey, I observed how the censor board is going backwards. When I went to CBFC (Central Board of Film Certification) with my first film in 2005, I got the CBFC certificate without a single cut. In 2011 for 'I Am', I fought six months to get a certificate, and in 2017, for my film 'Shab', I went through a struggle of eight months and then one of the members said that if I can change the relationship between two male characters as brothers... Really???
"Are we really progressing in our mind? Unless the fabric of the society changes... Though the law can protect us, it cannot change people's mentality, " Onir said.
20th Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival will end on November 1.