Thai Film ‘How To Win At Checkers (Every Time)’ is Best Film, Marathi Film ‘Daaravtha’ is Best Indian Short at KASHISH 2016

How to Win At Checkers (Every Time) directed by Korean-American director Josh Kim won the Best narrative Feature Film, while the Marathi film Daaravtha won the Best Indian Narrative Short Film at the 7th edition of KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival that concluded on Sunday May 29, 2016 at the city’s iconic art deco theatre Liberty. Actor Celina Jaitly along with KASHISH 2016 international jury comprising actors Raajeshwari Sachdev and Maanav Gohil, director Parvathi Balagopalan and theatre director Kaizaad Kotwal. Nargis Wadia of Wadia Movietone was the additional jury member.

Checkers, which tells the coming-of-age story of an 11-year-old boy who tries to prevent his gay older brother from being drafted into the military, won a cash prize of Rs 30,000.  Checkers also won the Best Performance in a Lead Role for its young actor Ingkarat Damrongsakkul and a cash prize of 20,000. Nishant Roy Bombarde, the director of Daaravtha also won a cash prize of Rs 20,000. The cash awards were sponsored by Anupam Kher’s Actor Prepares.

“Cinema has its impact on the society and its successive generations. A platform like KASHISH will continue to inspire our generation to stand up for what’s right, equality, for every human being who my heart wants to reach out to. It’s an honour to be here. I’ve grown as a human being just by being touched by you all,” said actor Celina Jaitly, while paying tributes to Xulhaz Mannan and Mahbub Rabbi, LGBT activists from Bangladesh who were killed last month.

“KASHISH has not only been a cinematic platform, but has transformed people’s lives,” said Sridhar Rangayan, Festival Director, adding, “We believe in the power of KASHISH – that it has the potential to change mindsets and enable attitudinal shifts in the society.” LGBT academics Ruth Vanita and Saleem Kidwai were awarded the KAHISH Rainbow Warrior Award.

Awards were handed out in eight film categories at KASHISH. The Riyad Wadia Award For Best Emerging Indian Filmmaker, which includes a cash prize of Rs 15,000 sponsored by Wadia Movietone, went to Srikant Anathkrishnan and Vikrant Dhote for their film Any Other Day.

One of the new awards at KAHISH 2016 was the QDrishti Film Grant sponsored by Lotus Visuals, that awards Rs 1 lakh to an Indian filmmaker to make his next LGBT film. The award went to V. Ramanathan for his documentary short Normalcy.

Best International Narrative Short Film Award went to the Chilean film San Cristobal directed by Omar Zuniga Hidalgo. Jean-Baptiste Erreca’s Pansy from France was the winner of the Best Documentary Award. The Best Documentary Short award went to Meera Darji’s TransIndia.

There were also some special mentions by the jury – German film Trade Queens directed by David Wagner and Joel Moffett’s Technical Difficulties Of Intimacy (both in the Best International Narrative Short category); Antonio Altamirano for his role in San Cristobal (in the Best Performance in a Lead Role category) and Akhil Sathyan (in the Riyad Wadia award for Best Emerging Indian filmmaker) for his film That’s My Boy.

The closing bight hosted by RJ Rohini Ramanathan, also had performances by former Mr Gay India and TV personality Sushant Sing, India’s first LGBT choir group Rainbow Voices Mumbai and the India’s first trangender dance troupe Dancing Queens.


KASHISH 2016 was held from May 25-29, 2016 at Liberty Cinema, Alliance Française de Bombay and Max Mueller Bhavan. The festival theme was ‘7 Shades of Love’. The festival website is

KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival

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. Founded in 2010, KASHISH is held over 5 days at three venues. It is the first Indian LGBT festival to be held with approval by the Information & Broadcasting Ministry, Government of India. KASHISH 2016 is presented by KASHISH Arts Foundation and powered by Wishberry. Organizer is Solaris Pictures and co-organizer is The Humsafar Trust.