The ongoing seventh Bangalore Queer Film Festival (BQFF) has continued to create the space to bring the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community together for film screenings, performances and a photo exhibition.
The two-day BQFF began today and is happening at two venues in Bengaluru - Alliance Francaise and Max Mueller Bhavan. This year's edition has grown in its breadth, say organisers. "This year, we have 51 films from 23 countries... a lot more variety, diversity, representation from different parts of the LGBT community. We already have more than 400 registrations. It has become a part of Bangalore's cultural landscape," festival director Vinay Chandran told NDTV.
The festival has provided a platform to films that might have, for various reasons, not made it to the mainstream. Among the films screened at the festival was director Moloy Mukherjee's 'Amar Bhavna Kintu Dur Holona' (Messy Forever). "My film is a contemporary, urban Kolkata film about two lesbian women and a guy who lives there. It is an all-inclusive society that I want to portray. My film did not get a censorship certificate," said Mr Mukherjee.
Not just a platform for films and other forms of expression, the BQFF has also turned into an opportunity for members of the LGBT community to meet each other. "This is a big secret. A lot of the people who come here don't even go for the films - they come to meet each other! It is about having an event where people meet each other," said Poorva Rajaram, co-organiser of the festival.
For what it is worth, the film festival has not run into any problem with the authorities, despite the lack of legal acceptance for the LGBT community in the country.
"I am proud that we lasted so long and that the community has come together. Every year, we worry about funding. And every year the community gets through and supports us," he says.