We had a wonderful second day of the pride week on 22 Jan 2012. The event was a film festival – Q’nema. The best of Kashish 2011 films that were screened. Harish Iyer emceed the show and followed up every film screening with discussions on the issue/s each film addressed. The students of Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) were very supportive. They themselves volunteered to play parts in the compeering and helping us manage the décor, acoustics, . The venue was free to us. They weren’t really obliged to offer us their staff to help us in putting up curtains etc, but they did. And what a classy venue it was, the distance was definitely an issue for some, but who said queer people weren’t there everywhere? Harish explained each film before it was screened and then discussed the issue that the film addressed with the audience. This ensured that we use cinema as a medium to start a dialogue on issues that we so often hush under the carpet. Should add, that the audience was wonderful and extremely interactive, which facilitated the free-flowing discussion.
This was followed by the Project Bolo dvd launch by RJ Rohini from RED FM and Prof Brindelle D’souza from TISS. Sridhar invited the audience to ask questions and comment about the video from project bolo that we screened, he also conducted a small contest where he asked Rohini to choose the best question/comment about project bolo. The winner walked away with a free DVD.
As the sun set, it was time for a panel discussion on the topic “Media and Society : Out of the Closet” which had Jerry Johnson playing the role of a moderator.
The panel discussion had all the panelists sharing g some thought-provoking personal experiences :
Deborah Grey who calls herself a triple x journo (having worked with 3 channels) She shared that she counter-reacted to her colleagues argument that gays change partners every week with a quirky “woh toh main bhi badalti hu”
Yogesh Pawar, from DNA, shared about how he had to shun the idea of doing a sting on gay extortion to expose the police’s devious ways to extort money from loo-cruisers. But he had to drop the idea, as the police guy caught on tape, pleaded that he’d lose his job. Later, Yogesh did an article in DNA about the same guy.
Prof Praveish Vishwanath from Khalsa college, highlighted the uneasy uncalm that still surrounds the classroom when he speaks of homosexuality and indicated that there needs to be a revamp of curriculum for a more inclusive and open sexuality study.
Sridhar Rangayan, shared how difficult he found it to get his point across to the censor board who often are closed to the issue of sexuality. He explained that it is still difficult.
Harish Iyer, spoke about the fact that we have a lot of preconceived homophobia. Sometimes the world is not bad, we think it is though. He also spoke about the fact that we use media as pawns. “How often have we called media people and told them…. Come for the march, even if you can’t do an article for us its fine”, he asked the audience.
22 Jan was Jerry’s birthday and he chose to spend it with us moderating the discussion and he did it so wonderfully well. Happy Birthday Jerry and a Big Thank you.