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Faraz Arif Ansari - the director who made a notable contribution to the cinema with films like Sisak (2017), also made news with Sheer Qorma last year. Featuring Shabana Azmi, Divya Dutta, and Swara Bhasker in the lead roles, the film's trailer not only offers us a glimpse of how meticulously the movie has been made, but also bears the hallmarks of bearing a significant progression in depiction of queer persons in cinema. Written by Faraz Arif Ansari, a non-binary person, the movie revolves around the themes of acceptance, identity, and religion in queer relationships.
While the commercial Hindi cinema has duly misrepresented and stereotyped queer romance and characters, watching the trailer of Sheer Qorma is a realisation of important undertones in queer portrayal that so-called Bollywood misses out on. For instance, in the opening scene of the trailer, seasoned actress Divya Dutta (who plays the role of Saira in the movie) has to explain what non-binary means. Saira says, "I identify as non-binary. So, my pronouns are gender neutral. They, them, theirs." The scene is an emphatic insight into how much exclusion queer people face, which is where Saira has to explain the basics. Acceptance is another important element that the film aims to bring out. Saira's mother (played by veteran actress Shabana Azmi) is in denial and unaccepting of Saira's relationship with Sitara (played by Swara Bhasker). With Shabana Azmi's moving performance as the trailer shows, the movie is also a commentary on parenthood aspect in queer relationship.
It is a layered romance story; thankfully with the absence of one-dimensional characters. Kudos to Faraz Arif Ansari for vividly showing the nuances of queer relationships! Adding to the LGBTQIA+ themes that movie explores poignantly, Sheer Qorma also treats fashion in a natural light. For instance, director Faraz Arif Ansari revealed in a last year-interview to the Deccan Herald, "A Twitter debate was on when I was writing 'Sheer Qorma': A Muslim woman cannot wear a saree. That baffled me. Even my mother wears a saree; it's part of an Indian identity. Clothes don't have a religion. When my costume designer asked me, what do you see Shabanaji (Shabana Azmi) wearing; I instantly said a saree." Shabana Azmi, who is a Muslim woman in the movie, is seen looking graceful in gorgeous pastel and floral sarees.
Similarly, Saira's outfits dipped in muted hues as shown in the trailer, seem like the character's natural sense of style. There's another interesting scene from a fashion standpoint as seen in the trailer - where Saira and Sitara are touching each other's foreheads, the whole visual seems like a prayer. In the scene, Sitara is seen with the head covered with a light-peach dupatta with chikankari embroidered details, and Saira is seen in a white drape with golden border covering the head. Even in the softness that the pastel hues exude, the frame is striking in bringing out the contrast between the delicacy of love and the harshness of the taboos within which it blooms anyway. But mostly, this frame is a beautiful ode to love. Sheer Qorma will have a grand world premiere at the prestigious BAFTA qualifying Frameline - the largest, longest-running, and one of the most widely-recognised queer film exhibition events in the world.
Cover Picture Courtesy: Taken from the official poster of the film
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