KASHISH 2020 Virtual Jury Members


HANSAL MEHTA is an Indian film director. Mehta started his career in television with his show Khana Khazana (1993–2000) and later moved on to movies like …Jayate (1999), Dil Pe Mat Le Yaar (2000) and Chhal (2002). He is best known for Shahid (2013) for which he won the National Film Award for Best Direction. He then went on to direct City Lights (2014), Aligarh (2016), Simran (2017) and Omerta (2018). His new film Chhalaang is due for release later in 2020 as is his ambitious series on the Harshad Mehta scam.

“I'm honoured to be a part of the KASHISH 2020 virtual panel. The world is passing through extraordinary times. It is at times like these that we must make extraordinary efforts to continue the work that strives to bind our increasingly polarized world together. Cinema is one such powerful medium and I'm so happy that this beloved festival is continuing to serve the world and particularly the LGBTQIA community with such a great variety of stories.” - Hansal Mehta, Filmmaker

SANDHYA MRIDUL is an Indian actor who became popular with her performances in television serials like Swabhimaan, Banegi Apni Baat, Koshish Ek Asha and Hu Ba Hu. She made her breakthrough in films with Yash Raj Films’ Saathiya in 2002 that was both critically and commercially successful and her performance was hugely appreciated. She has acted in films like Page 3 by Madhur Bhandarkar, Angry Indian Goddesses by Pan Nalin and Day After Everyday by Anurag Kashyap. She was the runner-up at the popular reality dance show Jhalak Dhiklaa Jaa (Season 2, 2007). In 2004, she acted in Pratap Sharma's Zen Katha, a play based on the life of Buddha in Mumbai opposite Rajeev Gopalkrishnan. She starred with Mahesh Manjrekar in Double Deal directed by Mahesh Dattani, an adaptation of Richard Stockwell’s play A Killing Time – which garnered immense success and acclaim both in India and abroad. She also acted in August Osage County, a play directed by Lillete Dubey.

“In spite of these times art thrives and it’s so inspiring to see the show goes on with KASHISH. We virtually connect with each other and so many others through stories. Virtual yet so palpable & real. It gave me immense joy to see section 377 being declared unconstitutional in 2018 in India. I respect the other countries who’ve done that in the past. As it should be. Freedom to be. Freedom to love. And it’s a privilege to be on the jury for LGBTQ cinema. I salute their resilience, courage and creativity. Love is love is love. Art is art is art!” - Sandhya Mridul, Actor

SUNIL SUKTHANKAR after graduating from FTII, started making films with Sumitra Bhave in 1985 and has directed 17 feature films, 50 short films, 5 telefilms and 2 TV serials in Marathi and Hindi so far.  With 3 International, 8 National and 45 plus State awards, Sumitra Bhave - Sunil Sukthankar are considered as a trend setting filmmakers of Marathi cinema. The duo’s feature film Kaasav won President’s Golden Lotus in 2016. Some of the feature films directed by him are Doghi, Zindagi Zindabaad, Dahavi F (10th F), Vastupurush , Devrai, Badha, Nital, Gho Mala asala Hawa, Bewaqt Barish, Ek Cup Chya, Mor Dekhane Jungle Mein, Ha Bharat Maza, Samhita, Astu, Phir Zindagi, Kaasav and Welcome Home.  Sunil Sukthankar is also a well-known film lyricist, who writes in Marathi and Hindi. He has written more than 80 songs for various feature and documentary films and has received a number of awards for them.

“I am happy to be on the jury panel of KASHISH Film Festival. In my youth, feminism helped me to break my rigid, ‘objective’ and so called ‘mainstream’ understanding of the world and introduced me to a subjective and comprehensive world view. Now, watching LGBTQ+ films is helping me to go beyond binaries of gender biases. Thank you KASHISH.”  - Sunil Sukthankar, Filmmaker


FAIZA AHMAD KHAN is an award-winning Indian documentary filmmaker and researcher based in India. Her most popular work is Supermen of Malegaon, a documentary film which revolves around the passion which residents of Malegaon have for filmmaking. She directed the film, The Cost of Coal, a 360° virtual reality story about the lives of the Adivasi communities living around the Kusmunda mine in the district of Korba, Chhattisgarh.

“The films offer a window into the lives of people who refuse the narrow constraints of society and are challenging the narrative at many levels from the deeply personal to the national, which in so many countries is being overrun by fascist forces. The films also offer moments of freedom and joy that lie in solidarities that transcend these narrow limits.” – Faiza Ahmed Khan, Filmmaker

MIRIAM CHANDY MENACHERRY is an Indian documentary filmmaker. With a background in filmmaking and journalism, Miriam has always made films that celebrate everyday heroes whether it was a rat killer in Mumbai (The Rat Race), children choosing music over violence in an area known for gang warfare (Lyari Notes) or the unsung heroes of Indian cinema (Stuntmen of Bollywood). Now, she turns the spotlight on the valiant survivors of child sexual violence as they emerge `From the shadows’. Miriam’s films have premiered at IDFA Amsterdam, where they were nominated for awards, won the Mipdoc Coproduction challenge at Cannes, and was nominated for the youth jury award at Sheffield. They have been broadcast on channels like Arte, National Geographic Channel, and Netflix. She has also produced and directed a series of award winning short fiction films.

“KASHISH is a very special festival. It was created long before the court verdict on Article 377 and has carved a vibrant, inclusive and unique space in the cultural canvas of our country. Today it is the biggest LGBTQ festival in South Asia I am so thrilled to be part of the jury in 2020 as I have a personal association with the festival because our short film `In the Closet' was screened at the 2011 festival and then travelled worldwide. So I do know personally each of the films we as jury are watching have a long and important journey ahead. I am so happy to be part of the journey.” -  Miriam Chandy Menacherry, Filmmaker

NAKUL SINGH SAWHNEY is an Indian documentary filmmaker. He is an alumni of FTII, where he studied TV direction. In 2007 he completed his first feature length documentary film, Once Upon a Time in Chheharta on the history of the working class movement in Chheharta, Amritsar. In 2008 he directed the ‘making' of Mr. Saeed Mirza's feature film, Ek Tho Chance. In 2012, he directed Izzatnagari Ki Asabhya Betiyaan, a critically acclaimed film on “honour” crimes in Haryana. The film was screened at several festivals like IDSFFK, Vibgyor and at the Film South Asia Film Festival in Nepal. In September 2013, he directed Muzaffarnagar Baaqi Hai..., which has been screened at several prestigious film festivals like Cinema of Resistance and FSA (Nepal), MIFF, IDSFFK and Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival. The film recently won 'Silver' in the category of Best Director and got Special Appreciation in the category of Best Film at IDPA. He now runs a film co-operative called 'ChalChitra Abhiyaan' based out of Western Uttar Pradesh. Over the last one year he has directed three critically acclaimed short documentary films called Muavza. Savitri's Sisters at Azadi Kooch and Kairana, After the Headlines...

“I am honoured to be in the jury of KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival, among the most significant queer film festivals in India, and perhaps even globally. At a time when we are witnessing one of the biggest global health crisis, coupled with intolerant bigots coming to power across the world, the significance of this Film Festival increases manifold. Films and all other forms of cultural expression, have always played a significant role in resisting injustices, especially at times like these. KASHISH Film Festival, reaffirms our resolve and our faith in equal rights and justice for all human beings.” -  Nakul Sawhney, Filmmaker


RABIYA NAZKI is a creative producer with an experience of around 20 years in the field of Film, Television and advertising. she has worked on key Positions with different media houses and corporate houses, Including Motion Picture Association India, Percept Films, Zee TV, TV18, BBC Online and Creative Vision to name a few. Besides running a successful Production house named Creative Vision for 7 years. The high light of her Career was to launch Homeshop18, the first 24 hour, international shopping Channel of India as the programming Head. Steering initiatives towards accomplishment of organizational goals and vision with chief responsibilities pertaining to Strategic Planning, Business Development, Creative Producing, Script Writing, Film Production, Account Management and Team Management at National and international level. Leading a team of around 100 Creative personnel at any given point of time. Besides Media she worked for four years in the Education sector for the differently abled children in Chennai. At present she is working as the Head of Department Film Producing, in Whistling Woods International.

“Being on KASHISH 2020 Virtual Panel as jury, has been an exhilarating experience. The Filmmakers show great promise and the stories direct you towards a deeper understanding of self-acceptance, inclusion, love, compassion and the  suffering of constantly being measured to fit in. My association with KASHISH 2020 has been an honour, and the gratitude to have access to these evocative narratives, has been immense”.  -  Rabiya Nazki, Producer

SHANKHAJEET DE makes documentary films with an ethnographic lens on the subjects of culture. His debut feature length documentary film In the Shadow of Time on Ravana Chhaya shadow puppetry of Odisha won the National Award as the best film on art and culture. His documentary Intimate Outsiders on the masterclass of Rajasthani Katputli String Puppetry tradition was premiered in IDFFSK festival. He has served as a jury member at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI), Goa. He has set up the filmmaking department at Sri Aurobindo Centre for Arts & Communication, New Delhi and taught research, screenplay & script writing and direction for over eight years.

“How does one look at a film from the vantage point of a juror? Does one look at it akin to that of an audience or from somewhere else? The films curated at past KASHISH Film Festivals have always been so special for the theme they represent and also for the efforts by filmmakers to create a filmic language which is otherwise swept aside even at everyday social conversations; many a times censored! How does the committee collectively evaluate the merits of such films? How do the jurors organically connect when every interaction has become virtual, especially during this Corona pandemic? But one thing is for sure. Watching the films have been delightful and reinforces the hope and resilience of human spirit and its myriad creative expressions.”  - Shankhajeet De, Filmmaker

TANGELLA MADHAVI is an award winning independent documentary film maker. She has made films for PSBT, Films Division, Majlis, VPRO Netherlands and NHK Japan. Her films Chasing Tails, Dhaga Mil Gaya (I Found A Thread), Laxman Gole and The Last Act have been widely screened across festivals and other forums. She has also taught documentary film making at Sophia Polytechnic (SCM Sophia), been a documentary mentor for Idocs (Documentary Resource Initiative), Documentor (Imphal) and was on the selection committee for International Documentary for Mumbai International Film Festival, 2015. An alumni of SRFTI, Asian Film Academy, Mumbai University and Sophia Polytechnic, she is currently an Assistant Professor (Direction)  at Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute, Kolkata.

“KASHISH has always been a space where inclusiveness, acceptance, and good cinema come together. Keeping in view the challenges of 2020, I am glad to be part of the resilience with which the festival is being put together. Hoping that the films provoke, question, reinforce and celebrate life itself.”  - Tangella Madhavi, Filmmaker

To register to attend KASHISH 2020 Virtual please check http://mumbaiqueerfest.com/attend/

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