Meet the KASHISH 2018 Jury

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Of the 140 films that will be screened over 5 days at KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival, 47 films will compete for the top prizes totaling Rs.2.65 lakhs, the highest ever in South Asia. To judge these films we have an acclaimed jury, including National Award winners. The Narrative Jury comprises actors Tara Deshpande, Jayati Bhatia and Sid Makkar. The Documentary Jury comprises of National Award winning filmmakers Ramchandra PN, Batul Mukhtiar and documentary filmmaker Malati Rao. The Student Short Film Jury comprises National Award winning editor Irene Dhar Malik, academician Jeroo Mulla, and activist Harish Iyer.

KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival – South Asia’s Biggest and India’s only mainstream lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender film fest –  is back for its 9th edition. The festival will be held from May 23-27, 2018 at two venues in South Mumbai – Liberty Carnival Cinemas and Metro Inox.


What does KASHISH 2018 Jury have to say:


From Left - Sid Makkar and Jayati Bhatia

From Left – Sid Makkar and Jayati Bhatia

“As I watched the films in the competition section for KASHISH 2018 it occurred to me that these stories about loneliness, love, isolation, wonder and joy, are universal to human existence, irrespective of gender or sexual orientation. They were beautiful narratives that will bring hope to the LGBTQ community, their families and create awareness about a human rights issue. It is my fervent hope that I live to see the day when the fact that a character is gay will be incidental to a film, a story or an audience. More so lawmakers in India should watch some of these films and concern themselves with the fate of a minority that’s been hanging in the balance for too long. Is loving someone a crime? Is wanting companionship, family, marriage, children to love, a crime? Is asking for equal opportunity, respect and freedom a crime? Then we are all guilty. Our Constitution enshrines the values of equality already so it is not about being progressive, it is about not being regressive. Everyone of us in our lives has at some point felt unloved, disrespected, helpless and rejected but imagine living your entire life feeling that way. Nobody deserves that. Being gay is not a disease, being prejudiced is. So to all the LGBTQ community here in India until the law changes, and it will, come out. Be proud.”

  • Tara Deshpande, Narrative Jury member


“Let me begin by thanking KASHISH 2018 for making me a part of Narrative Jury. I love Stories and especially the ones which deal with the subject that makes this world a better place to inhabit!!I feel for the LGBTQ community and dream of a day when they are a part of mainstream India”

  • Jayati Bhatia, Narrative Jury member


“I love good cinema. I strongly believe in equality for all and decriminalisation of section 377. KASHISH brings both together. A festival specific to the LGBTQ community is important in the times we live in. The quality of films is top notch and it has been a real treat watching them. It is an honour to be a jury member of KASHISH 2018 and I wear that tag with pride.”

  • Sid Makkar, Narrative Jury member


“I was very happy to watch this year’s crop of films submitted for the Riyad Wadia Award. By and large they were bold, innovative and experimented with new themes… such as violence and discrimination against LGBTQ persons in school. Many were in regional languages and one hoped that the nuances were not lost in translation. Out of the seven films as many as four merited serious debate. Since we could only choose one it was a tough decision! I am confident that most of these young directors will make their mark on the national level”

  • Nargis Wadia, additional jury member for Riyad Wadia award



From Left - Ramchandra PN, Malati Rao and Batul Mukhtiar

From Left – Ramchandra PN, Malati Rao and Batul Mukhtiar

“I was very impressed by KASHISH film festival’s collection of films. To bring such a contemporary mix of the best of international content to the Indian audience is a commendable task. It’s also to the festival’s credit to have created a strong audience over the last 9 years. It is indeed a celebration of pride!”

  • Malati Rao, Documentary Jury member


“It was a privilege to be watching the documentary films that were in the competition section and to be privy to the emotional lives of the many people depicted in these films. It surely sensitized me into the various aspects of the LGBT spectrum, like never before. The short documentaries were vibrant in nature, experimentation in the form very visible. The longer films generally treaded the known path in terms of the documentary film language, giving an in-depth insight into the matters that they were dealing with”.

  • Ramchandra P.N., Documentary Jury member


“KASHISH has become such an important festival on the Indian landscape. Put together by a small committed group with vision. It’s a privilege to contribute in some way to the festival. The films we saw as part of our jury assessment stood out in terms of their content and form. I think it will be an exciting package for the audience.”

  • Batul Mukhtiar, Documentary Jury member


More about the Jury




Tara-Deshpande-1TARA DESHPANDE TENNEBAUMbegan her career on stage with Alyque Padamsee’s Begum Sumroo, veejayed on MTV with her show Get A Voice and debuted in Sudhir Mishra’s film Is Raat Ki Subah Nahin. He turn in films like Bombay Boys and Style won her acclaim. She has authored threebooks, Fifty and Done (HarperCollins), A Sense for Spice (Westland) andAn Indian Sense of Salad (Penguin 2018). She and her husband Daniel live in Mumbai and New York. She is active on her food photography blog “Sobo2Soho” and on instagram @deshpandetara


jayatiJAYATI BHATIA is a television and theater actor who has been part of many popular serials, including the ongoing Sasural Simar Ka on Colors. She has done numerous plays including the critically acclaimed Vagina Monologues, Mahatma v/s Gandhi, Mad about Money and Khatijabai of Karmali Terrace. She has collaborated with Durban Playhouse (South Africa) to stage the play Mahatma V/S Gandhi. Apart from acting, Jayati also is a trained Odissi dancer and performed shows across India and the globe, including an European tour under the auspices of ICCR . She has worn several awards including the most inspiring artiste at the Grahamstown Festival .


sidSID MAKKAR is a Mumbai based actor having worked in films, television, web series and on stage. Sid has been part of international films like The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, the popular cult series on Netflix Sense8, and the independent Australian film Save My Legs. DusTola, Straight, Turning 30 and the cult film Luck by Chance directed by Zoya Akhtar are some of the Hindi Films he has worked in. His web series include the popular Vikram Bhatt produced Spotlight. His stage work includes the lavish production Zangoora at the King-dom of Dreams, Gurgaon.  His choice of work has usually been offbeat and edgy including the TV series Dariba Diaries currently showing on Netflix India.

NARGIS WADIA – Additional Jury member

nargisNARGIS WADIA was the first woman to launch a full–service Advertising Agency in India – Interpub, and in its 3 decades under her ownership, Interpub was known for providing a fertile environment for young talent. Interpub won over 70 awards, in every category – press, film, radio, TV, pop, ‘Innovation in Media’, etc. Mrs Wadia was also a Founder Member & Chairperson of Media Monitoring Services which preceded the establishment of Media Research Users Council. In 1991, she became President of The Press Guild of India. In 1996, Mrs. Wadia was appointed as the first Secretary General of MRUC- Media Research Users Council. Nargis Wadia is the mother of late filmmaker Riyad Wadia in whose memory the Riyad Wadia Award for Emerging Indian Filmmaker has been instituted at KASHISH by Wadia Movietone.




malati raoMALATI RAO has been making documentary films for over a decade. Her last film Born Behind Bars about children growing up in prisons was screened at Film South Asia, Kathmandu among other film festivals. Malati holds an MFA degree in Film and Media arts from Temple University, Philadelphia, USA and an MA in Mass Communication from Jamia Millia Islamia, Delhi, India.




ramchandran PNRAMCHANDRA PN is a National Award winning Indian filmmaker based in the city of Mumbai. He is a 1991 ‘Screenplay, Writing and Direction’ graduate from the ‘Film and TV Institute of India’. Over the years, he has made documentaries, features, short films and TV programs; and has been involved in film academics. In 2006, his first feature Suddha (The Cleansing Rites) – a Tulu language digital feature film won him the Best Indian Film at the Osian Cinefan Festival of Asian Films. His second feature Putaani Party (The Kid Gang) won the Best Children’s film at the National Film Awards, 2009.



batul mukhtiarBATUL MUKHTIAR a National Award winning filmmaker, studied Film Direction at FTII, Pune. Her feature Kaphal, won the National Award for Best Children’s Film 2014 & the Golden Elephant for Best Director at ICFFI 2013. She has served on the National Award Jury in 2015 and works on several juries and selection committees for IDPA, Films Division and MAMI Half-Ticket amongst others. She also mentors young documentary filmmakers through a program ‘Conversations on Documentary’. Currently, she is developing feature film projects. Her last script Mishi  was part of the NFDC Screenwriters Lab 2017.





JerooMulla (1)JEROO MULLA was formerly the Head of the Social Communications Media Department, Sophia Polytechnic, Mumbai where she taught film appreciation and supervised student documentaries for over thirty years. Currently she is visiting faculty at Sophia Polytechnic, Xavier’s Institute of Communications, Mumbai, and Symbiosis Institute of Mass Communications, Pune. She was the first recipient of the Professor Satish Bahadur Lifetime Achievement Award for Outstanding Contribution to Film Studies in South Asia at the Alpaviram Film Festival at the National Institute of Design, (N.I.D.) Ahmedabad. She has served on the selection committees for various film festivals including MAMI   MIFF and the International Children’s Film Festival, Hyderabad and was on the Jury for the National Awards 2010. She was also on the Jury for the Umrao Singh Sher Gill award for constructed photography in 2015. She is also an accomplished Bharatnatyam exponent, a disciple of the renowned guru Acharya Parvatikumar.


IreneIRENE DHAR MALIK is a Mumbai-based editor of documentaries, feature films and TV series. An alumnus of FTII, Pune, Irene has edited documentaries like Shivendra Singh’s Celluloid Man, Karan Bali’s An American in Madras, and Minnie Vaid’s Goal-den Girls. Her feature film work includes Onir’s I Am, Bikas Mishra’s Chauranga and Ashwini Malik’s Clever & Lonely. Her TV work includes Yashraj’s Powder, presently streaming on Netflix. Irene has recently finished editing Czechmate – In Search of Jiri Menzel, and is currently working on a documentary about the Kranti girls called Red Light Express, a documentary on Jainism, and one on Afghan war widows. Irene has been guest faculty at FTII and Whistling Woods. She also writes scripts, film reviews and short fiction. 


Harish IyerHARISH IYER is an equal rights activist for a number of social causes. He is the only Indian national in Guardian’s list of most influential LGBT persons in the world. He is the founder of The Barabari Foundation and the Director of The Plane Jar. Through these organizations he furthers the cause of youth involvement in reducing violence. He is a renowned motivational speaker and an RJ with Ishq 104.8 where he hosts The Gaydio Show.  Also, he is a guest faculty in many institutes across the nation and is a visiting faculty at G N Khalsa college where he teaches Radio and Television for media students.







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bodyelectricFrom Left - Sridhar Rangayan, Vandana Kataria & Kunal Kapoor