Theatre has always played a powerful role in reaching out to people. In this vein, the Delhi International Queer Theatre and Film Festival, organised by Harmless Hugs – an LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender,and Queer) collective, is back in the city with its second edition.
“The idea is to show people that the LGBTQ community does exist and is much bigger than people think. We aren’t a minority; we’re a mainstream part of the society.” — Harsh Agarwal.
“The fest is all about celebrating the LGBTQ community. There will be great memories, amazing movies and plays on the community, and a completely new perspective that people will walk away with,” says Harsh Agarwal, president, Harmless Hugs. “The idea is to show people that the LGBTQ community does exist and is much bigger than people think. We aren’t a minority; we’re a mainstream part of the society.”
Thought-provoking plays such as Libas, Lihaf, Hum Toh Bolenge, Meeta Ki Kahani, and movies such as Underneath the Makeup, There’s Me; My Child is Gay; and Boy Meets Boy will be screened at the festival. Along with that, there will be a photography exhibition on LGBTQ issues, and sessions by Piyush Mishra, among other eminent personalities. “The event will also be attended by Prince Manvendra Singh Golhil – the first person from an Indian royal family to have come out about his sexual orientation,” says Agarwal.
Actors Kalki Koechlin and Kunal Kapoor have also extended their support by making videos for the fest. Kapoor says, “Events such as these are essential... as the LGBTQ community has been grossly underrepresented and stereotyped. And cinema and theatre are really powerful mediums as they can reach out to masses, and change the situation.”
Kapil, director of the theatre group Sangwari says, “The LGBTQ community is treated worse than the minorities. People even refuse to believe that the community exists. This is the basis of our play Hum Toh Bolenge.”
Elaborating on the importance of events around LGBTQ communities, Agarwal says that they have long term impact as more and more content is created. “New movies and plays are produced, and performed repeatedly. This continues to spread the message,” he adds. “Also, it’s a great way for members of the community to sensitise their families, even if they haven’t come out of the closet yet.”