Kashish Film Festival Day 1: Ian McKellen, Sonam Kapoor enthrall the audience

Harish Iyer

May 26, 2016 21:00:16 IST

The seventh edition of the Kashish Mumbai International Queer Film Festival was launched this Wednesday and it was a star-studded affair. Infact, this was Kashish’s most glamorous and glittering avatar so far and it made me overcome my initial scepticism about it. This year Kashish brings you a dishy mix of sensible and relatable cinema that showcases the LGBT community as secure and self-aware, unabashed and confident.

Kashish focuses on one new country every year and viewers are treated to LGBT cinema from that country. The country in focus this year is Brazil. My heart sank as the Brazillian consul general said that while LGBT can marry in Brazil, 40 percent of hate crimes target Rainbow people. This reminded me why I am wary of people painting India as homophobic. Of course there are instances of homophobia in our country, but so are cases of homophobia in Brazil and USA where gay marriages are legal. I guess the same place where love builds its nest, hate also manifests.

 Kashish Film Festival Day 1: Ian McKellen, Sonam Kapoor enthrall the audience

Sir Ian McKellen gestures during the Kashish Film Festival. PTI

And what’s a film festival without the veritable parade of eye-poppingly beautiful men and women? Among the glamour goddesses, the effervescent Sonam Kapoor turned up the heat with her style, sass and oodles of sex appeal. While some people see Sonam as a mad motormouth, others dismiss her as a bimbo. But she proved yesterday that she is more than just a pretty face. First, she admitted that her looks get talked about more and that she is proud of that. She went on to add that she was not there just to offer her solidarity, but to give back, as most of her fans are lesbians and gay people. The audience listened attentively as she pledged her unequivocal support to the movement against Section 377. She ended her passionate and impromptu talk with “DOWN WITH 377 guys”. I may not be into women but this girl’s self-deprecatory humour and easy-going attitude are a huge turn on. Girl, you rock my world!

Kunal Kapoor, Dolly Thakore, Rajeshwari Sachdev and my friend Malishka, who anchored the event, added to the star quotient. The opening ceremony saw the heartbreakingly handsome Mr Gay India Anwesh Sahoo and Sunil Sankara enthrall the audience with a brilliant kathak performance. But it was the High Heel Hotties, three strapping young men who danced in stilettoes, who stole the show… oh well not quite.

See, everyone pales infront of Gandalf, even Aamir Khan who as usual was on a charm offensive. That’s right, Sir Ian McKellen caused convulsive applause as he walked on to the stage and took off his jacket to reveal a T-shirt that said, “Some people are gay. Get over it!” This matter-of-factness was evident in everything he said and did throughout the evening as he urged India to shrug off this colonial legacy of hate and embrace the Rainbow.

Kashish is a five-day festival. I strongly recommend you catch some movie magic here while it lasts.

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Updated Date: May 26, 2016 21:00:16 IST