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Cinema Outside The Closet

in WORLD, 22/11/2013

Young filmmakers are bringing queer issues to the fore through their movies, but there are challenges galore.

When Amitava Sarkar wrote a story in 2004-05 from her experiences, she found that there were no films that talked about the problems that transpeople face. She found there was scant opportunity; no resources that could help her produce a film about the so-called marginalized people.

Four years later, looking to make a docu-feature about a transgender individual, she found that nothing much had changed. With a modest budget of Rs 22,000, she made “Rupantar”, asking her queer friends to portray characters in the film. “It didn’t cost a lot of money since they were happy to help,” she says. Rupantar was supported by SAATHII (Solidarity and Action Against The HIV Infection in India) , with financial support from the Elton John AIDS Foundation London.

Sarkar’s experience is one that echoes throughout the queer film circuit in India, a promising genre that is being throttled by lack of finances and support. “In this country, film makers hardly get funds for short films, let alone funds for a queer-themed film,” rues Rohan Kanawade, the interior-designer-turned-director of Ektya Bhinti (Lonely Walls), a much-written about film about the relationship between a queer son and his father.

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