A lowdown on Delhi international theater and film festival 2016

Rajkumari Tankha brings to us the best from the recently concluded Delhi International Queer Theatre and Film Festival

The second edition of the two-day Delhi International Queer Theater and Film Festival organised by Harmless Hugs and Love Matters was held at the NCUI Auditorium, Siri Institutional Area in New Delhi on December 10-11. The festival showcased plays and films curated from national and international platforms based on Queer Theme so as to bring more awareness about and acceptance of this community by the masses.

Harmless Hugs, founded in 2012, is a platform that aims to bring together all the liberal souls from all across the world, under one roof. Founded in 2011 in Netherlands, Love Matters is a global programme providing information on relationships, sex and love.

Renowned theatre and Bollywood actor Piyush Mishra inaugurated the show, amidst the presence of Deputy High Commissioner for Canada to India Jess Dutton and Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil, son and probable heir of the Maharaja of Rajpipla in Gujarat, who runs a charity, The Lakshya Trust, which works with the LGBT community.


The DIQTFF is one of its kind event to communicate, educate and transpire the existence of the LGBTQI Community in India. The event started with power-packed stage play Pehchan by Asmita Theatre Group. Other plays that were presented during the festival were I step on Air (by Chi and Layla Zami, a German-French queer couple), Lihaaf, based on Ismat Chigtai’s famous short by the same name, by Asmita Theatre Group and Hum to Bolenge by Sangwari Theatre Group and Meeta ki Kahani, a Vijay Tendulkar play based on lesbian relationships.

A highlight of the festival was the film Underneath the makeup, it’s me by Chris Fudge. This film follows the life of a transgender teen, Amber, and her transformation into her true self.  Other films that were screened included That’s my boy, a 24-minute Malayam documentary film and Amorfo, a Spanish film by Jose Brocco.

A photo exhibition by Katharina Domscheit-D’souza from PEPPINA art, Pushing Boundaries was also organised on the occasion. Notably, D’Souza is also curating photographs by Alok Johri under the title No Conditions Apply. Impulse New Delhi, Project Samarth and Humsafar Trust had set up health awareness booths in which they also offered Free HIV Testing to all the visitors.

Meanwhile, Mishra also launched a collection of short stories on LGBTQ community on the occasion. Addressing the gathering, he said “I see no difference in the homosexual and heterosexual community. They have given me same respect, same love and affection that I get anywhere else I go. If there is something unnatural, the nature won’t let it exist. It’s the conflict of the nature and society which we now observe where society is calling nature unnatural which is ironic.”


Video messages of film stars Kalki Koechlin and Kunal Kapoor in which they pledged their support to the LGTBQ community were also shown to the audience. “The DIQTFF is not just a Queer Film Festival, rather we are using various art forms to raise questions as well change the society,” said Vinay Kumar, Founder, Harmless Hugs. “Movies and Theatre are a reflection of our lives which create change and influence society at large. The idea of holding this festival is to reach out to more and more people and sensitise them on the many facets of the Indian LGBTQ population,” he remarked.

“Love has no gender. We support LGBTQ rights and demand decriminalisation of homosexual sex.

We aim to increase public support for LGBT rights by helping organize and support events like these. We hope our efforts will increase the positive vibes within and outside this community and also help build positive attitude of others towards the LGBT community,” said Vithinka Yadav, Country Head, Love Matters India.

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Catch these plays/movies whenever they happen in your city:

 Pehchan – play

I step on Air – play

Lihaaf – play

Hum to Bolenge – play

Meeta ki Kahani – play

Underneath the makeup, it’s me – film

That’s my boy – film

Amorfo – film


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