The prestigious Bangalore Queer Film Festival (BQFF), the annual celebration of everything LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender), will take place from Feb. 25 to Feb. 28. The festival will showcase several performances, exhibitions and movie screenings by international as well as Indian artists and movie-makers.
Rishikesh Malkhede is a burgeoning spokesperson for the LGBT community in India and his documentary "Battle for 377" will be showcased at the BQFF this year. "Battle for 377" highlights the lifestyle of same-sex couples in India and their efforts to legalise gay marriage in the country.
International Business Times India got the opportunity to speak with Malkhede about his movie and its relevance in helping the causes of the LGBT community in the country. Here are the edited excerpts from the interview:
International Business Times India: What is the inspiration behind "Battle for 377"?
Malkhede: I had been to the pride parade and met people from the LGBT community. After speaking to them I felt that whatever they are demanding is not just needed, but is crucial to provide them an equal status in the society. I spoke with few people and told them that I wanted to contribute to their cause. I got some really helpful people to work with.
IBT: How do you think "Battle for 377" stands apart from the other movies and documentaries centred on a similar theme?
Malkhede: It is very difficult for gay people to live a normal life after the Supreme Court verdict. My movie has a couple who got married and is living happily. I think it's very rare to find that anywhere. I guess I just met good people who were not hesitant to come forward and talk.
IBT: How do you think this movie will benefit the cause of an LGBT empowerment in India? Do you think the couples in "Battle for 377" would be an inspiration to the younger members of the community.
Malkhede: Through this movie, I want to show the audience that people from the LGBT community are just the same as everyone else. Just because their sexual preference is different from those of others, it doesn't make them abnormal. They are as jolly, as hard working, and as friendly as everyone. That's what I would like to convey to the viewers. People are even afraid of telling that they are gay or lesbian. I think the gay couples who have acted in my movie will give them some courage to come out in the society.
IBT: How do you feel about getting to screen your very first film at a reputed event like BQFF, among other internationally renowned movies?
Malkhede: It is really an honour that my movie is screened at a prominent international film festival like the Bangalore Queer Film Festival. Getting a movie screened along with many films from across the globe is indeed a great happiness and an encouragement to keep making such films.
"Battle for 377" will be screened at Alliance Française on Saturday, Feb. 27, at 11:47 a.m.