Arjun Kapoor and Nisaba Godrej inaugurate KASHISH 2017

South Asia’s biggest LGBTQ festival will screen 147 films from 45 countries

 South Asia’s biggest and India’s only mainstream LGBTQ film festival – KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival – 8th Edition, opened on Wednesday May 24, 2017 with Bollywood Heartthrob Arjun Kapoor gracing the festival along with Nisaba Godrej, Executive Chairperson, Godrej Consumer Products. The star studded red carpet opening had stylist and founder and creative director of Bblunt Adhuna Bhabani, filmmakers Shonali Bose and Arunaraje Patil, theatre actor Dolly Thakore, and eminent KASHISH 2017 jury of Screenwriter Anjum Rajabali, actor Lubna Salim, TV Producer and writer Vinta Nanda, editor Jabeen Merchant, Roy Wadia of Wadia Movietone and writer Aseem Chhabra.

“I am happy to be part of a festival like Kashish Mumbai International Queer Film Festival as it brings together cinema from all over the globe for a relevant, important cause. The LGBTQ community needs a voice and support, and cinema is the most powerful medium to reach out to people. I think they have put together a fabulous line up of films,” said Arjun Kapoor. Arjun Kapoor and Nisaba Godrej along with Festival Director Sridhar Rangayan, gay activist and Humsafar Trust chairperson Ashok Row Kavi and Adhuna Bhabani lit the ceremonial lamp.

Bollywood Star & Chief Guest Arjun Kapoor at KASHISH 2017
KASHISH 2017 Jury (L-R) Screenwriter Anjum Rajabali, Editor Jabeen Merchant, Writer Aseem Chhabra, actor Lubna Salim.
Fawzia Mirza ], lead actor of Kashish Opening Film Signature Move
Adhuna Bhabani & VJ Andy at KASHISH 2017 Opening
Director Shonali Bose at KASHISH Opening Ceremony 2017
Parmesh Shahani, Head of Godrej India Culture Lab and filmmaker Pradipta Ray

“We are so very proud to partner the 8th KASHISH festival. Movies are one of the best mediums to tell stories, touch hearts and open our minds. We at Godrej believe that we are all equal and building a diverse and inclusive workforce is of utmost importance to us. We love and support the LGBTQ community not just because it is the right thing to do. Great talent is the key to our success and our individual capabilities are only determined by our attitude and hard work not by our gender, caste or sexuality,” said Nisaba Godrej, Executive Chairperson, Godrej Consumer Products Ltd.

“This year’s programming is unique and diverse, encompassing LGBTQ diversity from across the world as well as racial and ethnic diversity in the films that are being screened,” said an elated Sridhar Rangayan, festival director. “Several new countries debut in this year’s KASHISH, including films from Armenia, Nigeria, Kosovo, Rwanda, UAE, Trinidad & Tobago and Aruba! Being South Asia’s biggest LGBT Film Festival we have made a concerted effort to program films from Asia, South Asia and Asia Pacific. “We hope to live up to this year’s theme, ‘Diverse, One’ bridging all barriers and making it one of the most memorable events of Mumbai,” said Rangayan. This year the festival will also screen an increased number of feature-length narrative films, more than any other year.

This year the Festival will see 147 films from 45 countries that reflect the diversity of the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer communities will be screened at two venues in South Mumbai – the city’s iconic art deco theatre Liberty Cinema and Alliance de Francaise. This year’s festival theme is “Diverse, One” and explores the diversity of the LGBTQ communities.

Skybags and Godrej Industries are Principal Partners of the festival. IBM, Whistling Woods International and the Canada Consul General are Supporting Partners. Of the 14 films, 51 films will compete at KASHISH 2017 South Asia’s largest cash prize for an LGBTQ film festival totalling Rs 2.25 lakhs, sponsored by Anupam Kher’s Actor Prepares,  K F Patil Charitable Trust, Whistling Woods International and Wadia Movietone.

KASHISH MIQFF was the first LGBTQ film fest in India to receive clearance from the India’s Information and Broadcasting Ministry, when it debuted in 2010. Skybags and Godrej Industries are Principal Partners for the festival, while supporting partners are IBM, Consulate General of Canada, Whistling Woods International and Lotus Visual..

Commenting on the association, Radhika Piramal, Vice Chairperson – V.I.P Industries Ltd had said “We are happy to associate with KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival; it’s a great initiative that spreads much needed awareness about the LGBT community. Films are a powerful medium to influence and bring about a positive change in the society. We are happy to lend our support to this initiative as it not just a festival but it’s a place to learn and become more aware. As an out lesbian, I am proud to be part of the LGBT community in India and support greater visibility of our community through this important film festival”.

“I’m very proud that Godrej Industries and VIP, two very Swadeshi Indian-owned companies are principle partners. I think it’s very important for all of those who say that LGBT, liberty, freedom and equality are Western ideas, you can tell them that a 120 year old company that is deeply rooted in Swadeshi says, that we should be equal and that we should treat everyone equally. Its a very Desi idea, a Swadeshi idea – being inclusive is what makes us Indian, being exclusive is what doesn’t make us Indian. And I think that’s very very important. I do hope, that next year more and more corporate houses join us,” said Parmesh Shahani, Head of Godrej India Culture Lab. “I think it’s very important that companies come out in support, because we cannot bring about change in silos, we need to bring about this change in collaboration as companies play a very important role.”

The opening ceremony was followed by the screening of the opening film Signature Move, directed by Jennifer Reed and starring Shabana Azmi. Acclaimed Indian gay road drama LOEV will be the closing film on May 28, 2017.

KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival 

Founded in 2010, KASHISH MIQFF is held over 5 days at two venues. The festival this year will be held at Liberty Cinema and Alliance Francaise in South Mumbai. It is the first Indian LGBT festival to be held with approval by the Information & Broadcasting Ministry, Government of India. Voted as one of the Top 5 LGBT Film Festival in the world, KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival is South Asia’s biggest queer film festival and the only LGBT film festival in India to be held in a mainstream theater. The film festival this year will be held between May 24-May 28, 2017, at two venues in South Mumbai – the city’s iconic art deco theatre Liberty Cinema and Alliance Francaise. Delegate Registrations are open on Book My Show

THEME of KASHISH 2017: ‘Diverse, One’ 

The theme of KASHISH 2017 explores the diversity of the LGBTQ communities. The diverse shades of the rainbow remind us that as people we are all different and we are all unique. In the fight for an equal society, basic human rights and against laws that criminalize and discriminate, it is our shared values that bring us together. We are strongest when we come together, when we embrace one another’s uniqueness and celebrate our differences. We are Diverse, We are One.


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