Mumbai Queer Film Festival

Mumbai Queer Film Festival
Kashish – Mumbai International Queer Film Festival
Location Mumbai, India
Language International
Official website

The Kashish – Mumbai International Queer Film Festival (also known as Mumbai International Queer Film Festival and Mumbai International Queer Film Festival) is an annual LGBT event that has been held in Mumbai, India since the year 2010. The film festival screens gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer films from India and around the world.



The year 2009 was a historic one for the LGBT movement in India. On 2 July 2009, a Delhi High Court court ruling decriminalised homosexual intercourse between consenting adults and judged Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code to be conflicting with the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution of India. This brought a respite to the Indian LGBT community that has been repressed and marginalized. This also led to open celebrations by LGBT persons including Pride Parades in many of the metros.[1] This was followed by the relaunch of India's first gay magazine – Bombay Dost.[2] The Indian Election Commission decided to recognize transgender as a separate category. All these activities brought media focus and visibility to the LGBT community in India.[3][4][5]

Kashish Mumbai Queer Film Festival takes this movement forward through the medium of films. It makes LGBT persons, their desires and aspirations visible through films and brings about an international perspective to LGBT media works. The objective is to mainstream the LGBT community and project them as 'normal' human beings who have the capacity to love and live with dignity. The festival offers cinema as a means to understand what being queer means today, and how it impacts both the queer community and the society at large.[6]

The Festival

Kashish Mumbai Queer Film Festival, 2010 [7] was held between 22 and 25 April 2010, spread across two venues in Mumbai – one in the city and one in the suburbs. Features, short films, documentaries and experimental films were screened that highlighted gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender characters and stories. The films explore the diverse realities, complexities, joys and sorrows that make up the Indian queer experience. They also celebrate, reclaim, and explain LGBTQ identities while engaging and entertaining audiences. The film festival brings together the audience, the films and their makers to create social change.

Many recent as well as undiscovered Indian films and cutting edge contemporary international films from Argentina, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Indonesia, Israel, New Zealand, Portugal, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, UK and USA were screened. Eminent personalities from films, art, fashion, media and queer activists were part of the jury for its competitive sections. Panel discussions about Indian queer culture and its portrayal, and a photo-exhibition are a part of the film festival.

In its debut year Festival Director Sridhar Rangayan said he hoped that the film festival would encourage greater visibility of queer cinema and bring it into the mainstream discourse. He has said that the Festival showcases the films to both queer and mainstream audiences, in order to make them aware about queer thought, desires and expressions.[8]

Target audience

The annual Festival's main target audience includes members of the LGBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender) communities, film industry people, sponsors, media, film buffs and the general public. Many of them would not have had an opportunity to see these films outside the festival, since these films rarely receive commercial release in India.


Mumbai Queer Film Festival is one more initiative in the ongoing Media Advocacy and Community Outreach programs by Solaris Pictures, Bombay Dost and The Humsafar Trust which have earlier been involved in production and distribution of films and publications on queer and HIV/AIDS issues.

Solaris Pictures has consistently produced films on queer themes. Its award-winning films like Gulabi Aaina, Yours Emotionally and 68 Pages, all dealing with gay and transgender stories, have pushed the boundaries in queer portrayals in Indian films.

Bombay Dost, India’s first registered LGBT magazine, has been a standard bearer for the growing confidence and artistic alacrity displayed by India’s queer community.

The Humsafar Trust has been one of the largest male sexual health agency working with gay, bisexual and transgender communities in India focusing on rights and health.

The film festival is supported by Movies That Matter, (an initiative of Amnesty International) in the Netherlands, which promotes international human rights film screenings, offers advice and assistance, and stimulates the exchange of knowledge and experience.[9]


Best Narrative Feature Film

Best Documentary Feature Film

Best Documentary Short Film

  • 2010: "XXWHY" - Bharathy Manjula[10]
  • 2011: "Bullied" - Bill Brummel and Geoffrey Sharp

Best International Narrative Short Film

  • 2010: "Steam" - Eldar Rapaport[10]
  • 2011: "Let The World Know About Me" - Marianna Giordano

Best Indian Narrative Short Film

  • 2010: "Lost & Found" - Shrenik Jain[10]
  • 2011: "Amen" - Ranadeep Bhattacharya and Judhajit Bagchi

Kashish Coffee Break Audience Award

  • 2011: Nothing Happened - Julia Kots

Riyad Wadia Award For Best Emerging Indian Filmmaker

  • 2011: Kusum-the flower bud - Shumona Banerjee


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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