Our Patron & Ambassador

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KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival is honoured and privileged to have the renowned filmmaker and eminent advocate of good cinema Mr.Shyam Benegal as our Festival Patron. The festival also has an eminent Advisory Board.

Shyam Benegal

I support KASHISH as it helps to extend understanding of people in the broadest possible way and deepens the sense of humanity by including people of alternate sexuality. – Shyam Benegal

Shyam Benegal is a prolific Indian director and screenwriter. With his first four feature films Ankur (1973), Nishant (1975), Manthan (1976), Bhumika (1977) and Susman (1987) he created a new genre, which has now come to be called the “parallel cinema” in India although he himself has expressed dislike in the term preferring his work to be called New or Alternate cinema. He won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi seven times. He has also won the Golden Palm at Cannes for Nishant in 1976, the Golden Bear at Berlinale for Ankur in 1974 and numerous other international awards. He was awarded the Padma Shri in 1976 and the Padma Bhushan in 1991. On 8 August 2007, he was awarded the highest award in Indian cinema for lifetime achievement, the Dadasaheb Phalke Award for the year 2005.
Shyam Benegal is the Chairman of the extremely popular Mumbai Film Festival organized by MAMI.

Shyam Benegal
Shyam Benegal
Celina Jaitly
Celina Jaitly

Celina Jaitly

Goodwill ambassador of United Nations’ Free and Equal Campaign

I am very happy to be associated with KASHISH for the second year as its ambassador. KASHISH is a great platform to uphold human rights and dignity for all, which is what i strongly believe in too. KASHISH is a celebration of the equality of all human emotions irrespective of sex, creed, race and culture.

Celina Jaitly is a popular Indian actress who has acted in many mainstream commercial films.

A former beauty queen and model, she was crowned Femina Miss India Universe in 2001. She represented India at the Miss Universe 2001 contest where she was a finalist and finished as the 4th Runner Up.

In 2003, she made her film debut in Feroz Khan’s Janasheen. Since then she has acted in several Bollywood films like Khel  Silsilay , Jawani DiwaniNo EntryA Youthful JoyrideZindaTom Dick, and HarryApna Sapna Money MoneySaaniaRed: The Dark SideShakalaka Boom BoomHeyy BabyyMoney Hai Toh Honey HaiGolmaal ReturnsPaying GuestsHello Darling and Thank You.

Celina Jaitly made her singing debut in 2014 with the song “The Welcome’’, about a gay marriage, which went viral on Youtube, with over quarter of a million views in just two weeks.

Celina Jaitly has been an ardent supporter of the rights and equality of the LGBT community and supports the gay rights movement in India. She has led the Queer Pride Marches in Mumbai for three years.



  • It was a great time meeting local filmmakers, tasting some authentic food and generally understanding more about being LGBT in India. I've always believed that we live in a global village where most experiences are shared - but I also like diversity, that’s what I enjoyed during my time at KASHISH.

    BERWYN ROWLANDS (UK)Producer, Festival Director - Iris Prize & KASHISH 2013 Jury member
  • Film Festivals such as KASHISH must be protected and nurtured. Because it is a niche within the niche of film festivals. I am happy to be part of the jury of a festival of cinema that celebrates diversity and makes spaces for difference.

    JERRY PINTOAuthor, Critic & KASHISH 2013 Jury member
  • It is lovely to be here. I wish KASHISH goes from strength to strength and scale to scale.

    JUHI CHAWLAActor & Chief Guest at KASHISH 2011 Closing Night
  • KASHISH provides an insight into the lives of a marginalised community and offers a platform to bring them into the mainstream. KASHISH is an annual cultural event in Mumbai.

    DOLLY THAKORETheater personality, KASHISH 2010 Jury member & KASHISH Advisory Board member
  • I was stuck by the sheer enthusiasm, commitment and dedication of Kashish team and I hope the festival grows and goes from strength to strength. Kashish is a wonderful platform to celebrate diversity and also to educate people about the issues faced by the LGBT community.

    AAMIR BASHIRActor, filmmaker & guest at KASHISH 2013 Opening Night
  • Cinema is an expression of the needs of society, its creative part of society. We must respect individuality of people. KASHISH is a very good initiative. There are a lot of people who would like to watch the films that touch on LGBT issues, there are many who see these films as part of their lives and are glad that people are taking note of the problems they face. I wish Kashish all success.

    KABIR BEDIActor & Chief Guest at KASHISH 2013 Opening Night
  • I am very happy to be associated with Kashish for the second year as its ambassador. Kashish is a great platform to uphold human rights and dignity for all, which is what i strongly believe in too. Kashish is a celebration of the equality of all human emotions irrespective of sex, creed, race and culture.

    CELINA JAITLEYActor, Model & KASHISH Festival Ambassador
  • Cinema has no boundaries, cinema is meant to break barriers and KASHISH is a wonderful attempt to provide a mainstream platform for the LGBT community which is relegated to the margins. If films can be made on zero budget, like I have seen in KASHISH, then I would not be surprised if some more money could produce a blockbuster.

    ANUPAM KHERActor & Chief Guest at KASHISH 2012 Closing Night
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