LGBTQ Film Fest in Mumbai: 10 films to watch at Kashish 2019 

Through the films, the queer film festival will showcase the shared struggles and victories of the LGBTQ community while offering a window to existing and future possibilities

Heena Khandelwal Published :  05th June 2019 12:00 AM   |   Published :   |  05th June 2019 12:00 AM

Through the films, Kashish 2019 will present the shared struggles and victories of the LGBTQ community while offering a window to existing and future possibilities

To mark its 10th anniversary, Kashish Mumbai International Queer Film Festival is bringing 160 films from 43 countries to its audience. With the theme ‘Over The Rainbow’, the festival will not only celebrates the repealing of Section 377 from Indian Penal Code but also be looking at the challenges in store for the LGBTQ community with regard to empowerment and social acceptance. The four-day festival that begins on June 12 will screen the films at Mumbai’s two iconic theatres - Liberty Carnival Cinemas and Metro INOX. And, since 160 films can come across a bit overwhelming, we asked Sridhar Rangayan, Festival Director, to pick his favourite 10 films from the lot and here’s his list:

1. Just Friends
80 min / 2018 / Netherlands / Narrative Feature
Director: Ellen Smit

A still from Just Friends

On the 10th anniversary of his dad’s death, Joris still tries to come to terms with his father’s absence when he meets the free-spirited medical student Yad, who returns back home to his family after living on his own. Although very different, there is an instant spark between the two and they want to be more than “just friends”, but both have issues with their mothers that threaten to jeopardize their relationship.

When: June 12, 9.30pm
Where: Liberty Carnival Cinemas
Note: It’s the opening film of the festival

2. Until Porn Do Us Part… (Até Que O Porno Nos Separe)                                 
90 min / 2018 / Portugal / Documentary Feature
Dir: Jorge Pelicano

A still from Until Porn Do Us Apart...

Eulália, a conservative 65-year-old mother, finds out that her son who emigrated to Germany became Fostter Riviera, the internationally awarded first Portuguese gay porn actor. From shock and disgust to desperately trying to understand him, Eulália embarks on an emotional journey that puts her values, expectations and perceptions to the test.

When: June 13, 2.45pm
Where: Liberty Carnival Cinemas

3. Rafiki                                                                     
83 min / 2018 / Kenya   / Narrative Feature
Dir: Wanuri Kahiu

A still from Rafiki

“Good Kenyan girls become good Kenyan wives”, but Kena and Ziki long for something more. Despite the political rivalry between their families, the girls resist and remain close friends, supporting each other to pursue their dreams in a conservative society. When love blossoms between them, the two girls will be forced to choose between happiness and safety.

When: June 14, 5.45pm
Where: Liberty Carnival Cinemas

4. Nagarkirtan
115 min / 2017 / India / Narrative Feature
Dir: Kaushik Ganguly

A still from Nagarkirtan

Unable to cope with the trauma of being betrayed by Subhash, Porimal, a trans woman, runs away from home and joins a ghetto of eunuchs as Puti and sings at traffic signals to earn money. There she falls in love with Madhu, a delivery boy with a Chinese restaurant who moonlights as a flutist in kirtans. Their love blossoms while they dream of raising the money required for the sex reassigned surgery after meeting the first transgender person in India who has completed Doctor of Philosophy, Manabi Bandyopadhyay. But transphobic society does not support their dreams.

When: June 14, 7.45pm
Where: Liberty Carnival Cinemas
Note: It won 3 National Awards - Best Actor, Best Make-Up and Special Jury Award for director Kaushik Ganguly.

5. Kattumaran (Catamaran)            
73 min / 2018 / India / Narrative Feature
Dir: Swarnavel Eswaran

A still from Kattumaran

The film’s narrative revolves around the Tsunami-affected lives of middle-aged fisherman Singaram and his orphaned niece and nephew whom he deeply cares for. As Singaram works hard to provide for his family, he also tries to arrange a groom for his niece. But she rejects the many suitors he brings. Singaram soon learns that his niece is in love with her fellow female teacher. Ostracised by his community, Singaram tries to come to terms with his niece being a lesbian. In this process, he learns to empathize with the plight of the village barber, the transgender Alankaram.

When: June 15, 11 am
Where: Liberty Carnival Cinemas

6. Call Her Ganda                                                              
87 min / 2018 / Philippines, USA / Documentary Feature
Dir: PJ Raval

A still from Call Her Ganda  ​

When Jennifer Laude, a Filipina transwoman, is brutally murdered by a U.S. Marine, three women intimately invested in the case--an activist attorney, a transgender journalist and Jennifer’s mother --galvanize a political uprising, pursuing justice and taking on hardened histories of U.S. imperialism.

When: June 15, 6.30pm
Where: Metro INOX

7. Roobha                                                
91 min / 2018 / Canada / Narrative Feature
Dir: Lenin M. Sivam

A still from Roobha

Gokul, a perplexed young South Asian man is ostracized by his family as he tries to establish his gender identity. Desperate and unable to earn a decent living, he assumes the nom de guerre, Roobha, and walks the streets of Toronto. Roobha soon musters up a clientele. One day she is violently assaulted by thugs and left to die. She survives the attack and heals with the help of her transgender friends. Her encounter with the enigmatic Anthony leads to a rapturous romance. However, their blissful existence is short lived.

When: June 15, 7.45pm
Where: Liberty Carnival Cinemas

8. Sauvage                              
99 min / 2018 / France / Narrative Feature
Dir: Camille Vidal-Naquet

A still from Sauvage

Handsome and untethered Leo lives on the streets of Strasbourg and gets into sex work for a bit of cash. The men come and go, and he stays right here - longing for love. Even when he falls for the bitter and bisexual Ahd, who works on the other side of the road, his love remains unrequited. Unsure about his future, he hits the road.

When: June 15, 10pm
Where: Liberty Carnival Cinemas

9. Boy Erased                                                         
115 min / 2018 / Australia, USA  / Narrative Feature
Dir: Joel Edgerton

A still from Boy Erased

Boy Erased tells the courageous story of Jared Eamons, the son of a Baptist pastor in a small American town, who must overcome the fallout of being outed to his parents. While his parents struggle with reconciling their love for their son with their beliefs, Jared is faced with an ultimatum: attend a conversion therapy program – or be permanently exiled and shunned by his family, friends, and faith. Boy Erased is the true story of one young man’s struggle to find himself while being forced to question every aspect of his identity.

When: June 16, 4.15pm
Where: Metro INOX

10. Njan Marykutty (I'm Marykutty)
126 min / 2018 / India / Narrative Feature
Dir: Ranjith Sankar

A still from Njan Marykutty

Mathukutty, a transexual wants to get out of the pressure of being a man, which mentally he wasn’t, finally deciding to undergo surgery and become a woman. He/She becomes Marykutty and his problems start when she comes back to her native place. Though her family disowns Marykutty, it is the parish priest, who gives her all the confidence. She is determined to become a sub Inspector and joins a coaching institute to prepare for the exam. In between, she earns the considerable appreciation in that area, as a Radio Jockey in the FM channel run by the church but will she be able to fulfil her dream of becoming a sub-inspector?

When: June 16, 9.30pm
Where: Liberty Carnival Cinemas
Note: It’s the closing film. The film starring Malayalam star actor Jayasurya in the pivotal role of Marykutty has won Kerala State awards.

Registration for the festival can be made at