The week-long Mumbai International Film Festival, which was inaugurated on Thursday, has taken on a pink hue this year.
For the first time, the festival organised by the Mumbai Academy of Moving Images (MAMI), will host a panel discussion on 'Queering India: Gay and Lesbian portrayals in New Indian Cinema' on October 17. The event organised in association with KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival, will discuss the portrayal of members from the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community in mainstream cinema.
"Over the years, filmmakers and popular actors have come out in the open to portray such characters without resorting to cheap gimmicks," said Sridhar Rangayan, a gay activist and director, one of panelists in the discussion.
The panel will include filmmakers Tarun Mansukhani (Dostana) and Onir (My Brother Nikhil), film critic Rajeev Masand and actor Rajit Kapur. The discussion will be moderated by film critic Meenakshi Shedde. The festival line up also includes three queer-themed films.
"People do not even know the difference between gays, transgenders and hijras. Through effective involvement in the mainstream, we might soon not even need a separate queer film festival," said Pallav Patankar from the Humsafar Trust, a non-profit organisation dedicated to help the LGBT community.
Gay rights activist Harish Iyer said Indian film makers are coming out of the closet. "A film is adjudged based on its content and not on the relationships of its protagonists," he said.