Tuesday, August 5, 2014

CSB Promotion - My Son Is Gay

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[Image] Crazy Sam's Bloginess: My Son Is Gay

When Lokesh Kumar attended the Indian LGBT film festivals, he found that there were not many Indian movies made on alternate sexualites. Being an ardent film buff, he had always wanted to be part of cinema. But without proper contacts and knowledge and finance, he found it difficult to move forward. Even then, he felt it was important to portray this subject and made his first movie about the acceptance of a guy’s homosexuality by his elder brother. Now a few short films later, Lokesh has emerged himself as an independent filmmaker, who wants to highlight the social issues that move him through his films. ‘My Son Is Gay’ is his very first venture in incarnating that intention.

[Image] Crazy Sam's Bloginess: My Son Is Gay
The Writer and Director of 'My Son Is Gay,' Lokesh Kumar

The movie ‘My Son Is Gay,’ tries to portray the emotional journey of an Indian mother when her son comes out to her as homosexual. It also deals with what the gay son goes through being in a society which denies him the identity, acceptance, love and affection. Emphasizing the relevance of his movie, Lokesh points out, “I see that the LGBT community is facing lot of rejections by the society. Though it is not a much talked about topic in our country, it is happening a lot secretly – within our hearts, within our minds. This movie hopes to foster the acceptance of LGBT children and understand their emotions.”

The two main characters – the son and the mother – are played by actors Nakshatra Bagwe and Anupama Kumar respectively.

[Image] Crazy Sam's Bloginess: My Son Is Gay
A scene from the movie, 'My Son Is Gay'

Nakshatra has been involved in films on queer themes since his debut movie and this will be his eighth film based on homosexuality. Being an openly gay man, he is well aware of the stereotypes that get propagated vis-à-vis the actual reality. For Nakshatra, this was a dream come true project when Lokesh approached him for the role. “When I watched ‘Prayers for Bobby,’ I had wished for movies on similar theme to be made in India. It is important for all of us to make our voices heard in the mainstream and I want to portray us in a positive realistic manner,” he asserts.

[Image] Crazy Sam's Bloginess: My Son Is Gay

Anupama has been dabbling with theatre since she was 5 and she claims to be the designated family entertainer. A few hundred ad films later, Anupama now feels that she has reached where she wanted to be, doing the kind of cinema she had always wanted to be involved in. “I have many gay friends and like everyone else, they also are victims of this prejudice. When we were shooting the ‘coming out’ scene, Nakshatra broke down as it was very close to his heart. That insight made us all realize how real this issue is.”

[Image] Crazy Sam's Bloginess: My Son Is Gay

When Lokesh came up with this project, there were people who questioned his choice of selecting a gay-themed subject and he had to make them realize its importance. “I’m good at pitching my project and no one can influence me on the topic I choose to film. Initially some technicians and actors had the reservation that it might brand them as LGBT. But once we found the right people who see cinema as an art, we focused on making the film and the theme became irrelevant.” Even then the challenges to make this movie are not eased. “In indie film making, every day is a challenge. And for a theme like this, the challenges give a multiplier effect when it comes to funding, promotions, sourcing the right talent, bringing stars to make the project mainstream, managing social media and so on,” Lokesh explains.

[Image] Crazy Sam's Bloginess: My Son Is Gay

[Image] Crazy Sam's Bloginess: My Son Is Gay

The movie is currently under production and the makers are hopeful to complete the film through crowd-funding. 25 percent of the movie has been completed and the team has come out with a trailer-cum-pitch video to encourage contribution from the public. "It’s now purely in the audience’s hands. We wish to complete the movie at the earliest, hope the people will open up their hearts and contribute to the project. Do support us and we will give a great movie which India has never seen before, a movie which is crucial for our country,” Lokesh stresses.

The trailer cum pitch video of 'My Son Is Gay'

The contributions to the movie (as low as INR 100 or $1) can be done at http://fundmydream.in/campaigns/my-son-is-gay
Movie Facebook page: 
https://www.facebook.com/MySonisGayTheMovie

Check out these related posts too!
CSB Promotion - Pandora's Box
CSB Promotion - Chennai Rainbow Film Festival 2013
CSB Promotion - KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival 2013

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Fifth Kerala Queer Pride March

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[Image] Crazy Sam's Bloginess: The Fifth Kerala Queer Pride
Photography by Sreejith K Soman

Ever since I returned to Kochi after my five years in Mumbai, I am sensing a different vibe from the current generation - a vibe of open-mindedness, of cosmopolitanism and of breaking away from the conservative shackles exhibited by the previous generations. That feeling was proved true when almost 500 people gathered in Kochi last Saturday to march for the 5th Kerala Queer Pride.

[Image] Crazy Sam's Bloginess: The Fifth Kerala Queer Pride

A major chunk of the participants were straight supporters who feel strongly for the LGBT rights cause. Varkey Parakal, a class 12 student, feels that this is a human rights cause as well. "I have always been a supporter for causes regarding human rights and the LGBT rights are not any different." They were also not worried about getting labeled as gay while supporting the cause. There were straight supporters who held placards that shouted, ‘Happy Being Gay.’ Mohini Mohandas, another class 12 student says, “I don’t mind being called lesbian, bisexual etc. Because it would be like a person getting my age wrong - something harmless and correctable.”

[Image] Crazy Sam's Bloginess: The Fifth Kerala Queer Pride
Photography by Surjith S Pai

[Image] Crazy Sam's Bloginess: The Fifth Kerala Queer Pride

The pride march is also a group therapy of sorts for the gay people and the watching public, opines Kishor Kumar, a software engineer and writer who had come all the way from Calicut - a few districts north of Kochi. “Most members of the LGBT community live in constant fear and shame; this is a chance for them to witness the support and acceptance showered by the public.”

[Image] Crazy Sam's Bloginess: The Fifth Kerala Queer Pride

[Image] Crazy Sam's Bloginess: The Fifth Kerala Queer Pride
Photography by Surjith S Pai
The Kochi queer pride march had many firsts to it. 

- This was the first time a queer pride happened in Kochi. Previous editions were held in the neighbouring district of Thrissur and once in Calicut.
- This was the first queer pride that was held in Kerala after the Supreme Court struck down the earlier Delhi High Court verdict which had decriminalized non-penile-vaginal sexual acts.
- This was the first pride march in Kerala which saw people, barring one or two, marching without any mask.
- Kerala queer prides started happening after the High Court verdict, hence all the previous versions were celebrations of sorts. This time, now with the Supreme Court verdict, the pride also had the flavour of protest - demanding to do away with the Section 377 law.
- The Kochi queer pride also saw the highest participation so far compared to any of the previous Kerala queer pride editions.

[Image] Crazy Sam's Bloginess: The Fifth Kerala Queer Pride
Photography by Surjith S Pai

[Image] Crazy Sam's Bloginess: The Fifth Kerala Queer Pride

[Image] Crazy Sam's Bloginess: The Fifth Kerala Queer Pride
Photography by Surjith S Pai

The pride march was flagged off by the celebrity and TV personality, Ranjini Haridas, who had spoken passionately in favour of the LGBT community in a news interview at the time of the Supreme Court verdict. Before the flag off, she addressed the gathering saying, "As a woman I feel safer in the company of people from the LGBT community. They are some of the most passionate, talented and honest people I know." In an interview with Deccan Chronicle, she further adds, "We are brought up in a society where heterosexual relations are a norm and anything else is considered immoral. However, if you ask anyone in the LGBT community, they will tell you it's not really a choice, that they were born this way."

[Image] Crazy Sam's Bloginess: The Fifth Kerala Queer Pride
Celebrity and TV Personality, Ranjini Haridas | Photography by Ajay Paul

[Image] Crazy Sam's Bloginess: The Fifth Kerala Queer Pride
Ranjini Haridas with Kerala Queer Pride participants | 
Photography by Sreejith K Soman

By now the monsoon clouds were gathering fast, darkening the sky. But it felt like even the nature was supporting the cause - throughout the 90 minute walk, not even a drop of rain tried to interrupt us. From the premises of the Kerala High Court, the march commenced with a group of Harleys leading the way. A line of police accompanying on one side to control the participants and traffic, the procession inched forward shouting slogans - “My Body My Right!”, “Section 377 Down Down!” While the band played popular Malayalam and Hindi songs, some participants danced to the tunes, some waved the rainbow flags and colourful balloons; some held the placards with pro-LGBT messages – a visual which was a first for the Kochi public, attracting many curious onlookers. The pride walk finally culminated at the Rajendra Maidan, post which the public meeting and cultural performances were held at the nearby Mahrajas College hall.

[Image] Crazy Sam's Bloginess: The Fifth Kerala Queer Pride

[Image] Crazy Sam's Bloginess: The Fifth Kerala Queer Pride
The Head of Alternative Law Forum, Arvind Narain (on the right, holding the flag) | Photography by Surjith S Pai

[Image] Crazy Sam's Bloginess: The Fifth Kerala Queer Pride
The transgender rights activist, Kalki Subramaniam | Photography by Surjith S Pai

The fifth Kerala Queer Pride march was organized by Queer Pride Keralam – a coalition of approximately 30 organizations working on art, culture, social, human rights and environmental issues. Apart from Ranjini Haridas, this year’s march saw the presence of well-known personalities such as Kalki Subramaniam - the transgender rights activist from Chennai, Shahabaz Aman – the Malayalam playback singer, Rekha Raj – the Dalit rights activist and Arvind Narain – one of the prominent lawyers fighting the Section 377 case in the Supreme Court and the Head of Alternative Law Forum, Bangalore. A memorandum aimed to be presented to the Kerala government, which puts forward the many urgent needs of sexuality minorities of Kerala, was also signed by hundreds of people who attended the public meeting.

[Image] Crazy Sam's Bloginess: The Fifth Kerala Queer Pride
Photography by Ajay Paul

[Image] Crazy Sam's Bloginess: The Fifth Kerala Queer Pride
Photography by Surjith S Pai

[Image] Crazy Sam's Bloginess: The Fifth Kerala Queer Pride
Photography by Surjith S Pai

To see more photos of the Kochi pride march, click here.

Check out these related posts too!
Why It Is Important For Parents To Tell Their Kids To Be Gay Friendly
My First March For Equality
Bangalore Gay Pride March Montage By Amar Mitra

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