Kiran Rao, Sonali Kulkarni, Shweta Basu Prasad Share Their Experience Of Being Jury Members At Kashish Pride Film Festival 2024

Kiran Rao, Sonali Kulkarni, Shweta Basu Prasad Share Their Experience Of Being Jury Members At Kashish Pride Film Festival 2024

The films at Kashish will focus on the stigmas around the queer community and look through a sensitive lens around their narratives

Ria SharmaUpdated: Wednesday, May 08, 2024, 09:20 PM IST
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Jury members Kiran Rao and Sonali Kulkarni with KPFF director Sridhar Rangayan |

The Kashish Pride Film Festival (KPFF) is celebrating its 15th edition this year. South Asia's biggest LGBTQ+ film festival will take place from May 15 to May 19. The films at Kashish will focus on the stigmas around the queer community and look through a sensitive lens around their narratives. The organisers held a press conference in Mumbai on Wednesday during which the jury members opened up about their association with the film festival and what's in store for the audience this year. 

Bollywood director-producer Kiran Rao, who is currently enjoying the success of her latest film Laapataa Ladies, shared her experience of being a jury member of KPFF 2024. "I'm so glad I decided to be a part of the jury this year. I've always been an ally to the queer community and I've always been passionate about their rights. I have been acutely sensitive to this experience for a very long time. While judging this year, we saw a wide range of work. It was quite wonderful. Some of the films really moved me to tears. It's a wonderful selection of films and I highly recommend people to attend the festival and watch the films. We get a richer understanding of people from the queer community. It is our duty and our right to be a part of this festival, whether we are queer or not. I've had a lovely time being on the jury. I can't wait for Mumbai and the rest of the country to watch these films. I hope this festival is a big success." 

Revealing what's her takeaway from KPFF, Kiran added, "We saw a range of films and the impression that I got was that we often feel that in India things are very different than the rest of the world as there people don't have similar problems. But we've seen films from first world countries, older queer communities and what I took away was how the people in the queer community have the same kind of experience around the world. It gave me an insight into what people face in different parts of the world. It was a huge learning experience for me."

Another jury member, actress Sonali Kulkarni, gushed, "I always wanted to be a part of Kashish and I'm happy to be associated with the family this year. Films have helped me grow, they have educated me about life and society. I started my film career by playing a non-gender character, I played a tree. Then I played a boy in one of my films. So I feel connected with KPFF. I was one of the jury members, however, I didn't have expectations about what kind of experience I would have. But the films were so mature. They had a powerful storyline and characters as well as excellent cinematography. I was expecting to see films that are above average but they surprised me. Every film was courageous. I really liked how Indian writers are opening up to express themselves. When I started watching the films, I was ready for eccentricities. I felt there would be melodrama and theatricality in the presentation. But, to my surprise, the films and characters were very mature."

Sonali added, "I'm highly touched to see the discipline and passion of the entire team of KPFF. Hats off to them. This is the 15th edition of KPFF and I hope we celebrate it together every year." 

Actress Shweta Basu Prasad, who is one of the student shorts jury members, called her experience 'exciting'. "We watched six short films made by students from across the globe but they did not seem like they were made by students. It was interesting to see what young voices had to speak about this topic and about people belonging to the community. All the films we watched were diverse in nature and none of them were like 'Oh look at me, poor me.' It was not about feeling sorry."

Urging people to attend the film festival, Shweta said, "I would not like another generation to be ignorant about something that can be so damaging. We should create an environment where people can accept who they are and have a dialogue. I'm sure there are so many out there who would not even want to come out and speak about it to their closest friends. It's so problematic when you can't talk to your parents or feel that you need therapy for something like that. As a society, we are failing if we are making an individual feel like that. More films and celebration of diversity can add to awareness, knowledge and eventually make a sensitive and emotionally-intelligent society. I would like to thank the team of Kashish for having me on board." 

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