India celebrates second gay film festival

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

India’s second annual gay film festival is underway in Mumbai.

KASHISH 2011, which will show 124 LGBT films from 23 countries, was approved by India’s Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and has failed to rouse the ire of anti-gay campaigners.

India only decriminalised gay sex in 2009 and filmmaker and festival director Sridhar Rangayan told IPS that the festival was a “spin-off” of that court decision.

He said: “Last year when we organised the festival, it was a great success. We also found after a proper survey that at least 28 per cent of the audience in the festival was from outside the LGBT community, from the mainstream.

“The participation of people at large shows a change in social attitudes – gays are not seen as ‘criminals’ anymore. The image of a gay man or woman is changing.”

The festival will run until Sunday at a multiplex. Around 2,500 people are expected to see the films.

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