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Academy-Award nominated director Mira Nair (Salaam! Bombay, Monsoon Wedding, The Namesake) will be a speaker at a panel discussion titled 'Books To Screen - Lost & Found in Translation', being organised as part of the 12th edition of the KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival 2021, which is South Asia's biggest LGBTQIA+ film festival.
This impactful panel that discusses how books are adapted into feature films or web series, will also feature well-known Swedish author and director Jonas Gardell (Don't Ever Wipe Tears Without Gloves), Sahitya Akademi winning playwright Mahesh Dattani (Mango Souffle, Morning Raga), and transgender actor Living Smile Vidya, who is the author of I Am Vidya, and will be moderated by author Raga D'Silva (Untold Lies). The panel will be streamed on KASHISH YouTube channel @kashishfilmfest on Tuesday, August 24 at 6 pm IST.
"While the pandemic put the brakes on KASHISH being held on-ground physically at a theatre in Mumbai, the benefits of a digital festival has opened new doors," said Sridhar Rangayan, Festival Director. "We have been able to invite some extraordinary speakers at the panel discussion and also filmmakers from across the world at the filmmaker Q&As. We are blessed to have such eminent personalities such as filmmaker Mira Nair and author and director Jonas Gardell speak at our panels. Virtual is the new normal," he added.
Speaking about her recent mini-series A Suitable Boy based on Vikram Seth's epic novel of the same name, Mira Nair says, "I think Vikram Seth deeply understands and wrote in A Suitable Boy, the depth of this unconditional love, friendship between Maan (Ishaan Khattar) and Firoz (Shubham Saraf). For me it encompassed all kinds of love. We had to do a lot in very little time, but I think you feel this extraordinary drama of their friendship and the jealousies, and also how the fathers eventually bring the sons back together. It's a beautiful quartet that Vikram wrote and I wanted to do that justice. Life is about all sorts of love, but it is love. There's nothing to put it in a box about."
Jonas Gardell said, "I'm 58 years old now and I have been out and proud since I was 15, so that's almost 40 years. When my first novel came out in 1985, the critics actually wrote that they almost vomited when they read it since it was a gay love story.... Time has passed and now when I write my novels, they are mainstream, they are bestsellers in Sweden."
Mahesh Dattani spoke passionately about the need for greater representation of queer narratives. "We need more LGBTQIA+ people involved in the arts, in storytelling. We need stories that concern the LGBTQIA+. We need LGBTQIA+ characters in films that are not talking about LGBTQIA+. I think it is hugely important that we also have characters that are there because they are part of a bigger story, and it doesn't always have to be a personal story," he said.
Living Smile Vidya spoke about her book I Am Vidya that has been turned into a feature film called Naanu Avanalla Avalu, which went onto win two National Film Awards. But her main passion is theatre. She said, "I wanted to be in cinema, but as I grew up, I saw theatre has more space and more acceptance and I found my place. Being on stage is where I feel like one giant tree where I get all the power in the best possible way."
This panel discussion is being supported by the Consul General of Sweden, who is also supporting screening of two documentary features - Prince of Dreams and Always Amber.
While the film festival is screening 221 films from 53 countries over the 12 days of online screenings spread across three weekends, KASHSH 2021 will continue to engage audiences during weekdays with eight panel discussions and 42 filmmaker Q&As streamed on their YouTube channel.
On August 23, 6 pm IST, a panel discussion 'TEACH THEM YOUNG! - Qualitative Queer Narratives emerging from Indian Film Schools' is being streamed featuring speakers from leading film and media institutions like Film & Television Institute of India (FTII), Sophia SCM, Pearl Academy, Satyajit Ray Film & Television Institute (SRFTI) and Whistling Woods International, which is also supporting this panel discussion.
Rounding off the first week of panel discussions, on August 25 at 6 pm IST, the festival will host the first ever chat with siblings of queer persons. Titled 'UNLOCKING ACCEPTANCE WITH SIBLINGS' the panel features gay, bisexual and transgender persons alongwith their sisters and brothers.
More information about the Allied Events at KASHISH 2021 can be found at https://mumbaiqueerfest.com/allied-events-at-kashish-2021/