film festivals

Kashish queer festival celebrates diversity and the hope for a more inclusive world

The festival, which runs from May 24-28 in Mumbai, includes the Indian entries ‘Loev’, ‘Sisak’ and ‘Harikatha Prasanga’.

The Kashish Mumbai International Queer Film Festival is back for an eighth round of rarely seen LGBT cinema from India and the rest of the world. The theme for this year’s edition is “Diverse, One”. At least 147 films, shorts and documentaries will be screened between May 24 and 28 in Mumbai.

Founded in 2010 by filmmaker Sridhar Rangayan, Kashish is the only mainstream queer festival of its kind in India. Around 43 movies will compete in eight categories for a cash award of Rs 2.2 lakh.

American filmmaker Jennifer Reeder’s Signature Move, starring Shabana Azmi, will open the festival. Azmi plays a recently widowed Pakistani mother to an aspiring lesbian wrestler (Fawzia Mirza).

Among the Indian premieres is Faraz Arif Ansari’s Sisak, a silent film about the sparks that fly between two men who travel by the same Mumbai local train every night. The film bagged the audience award (short film) at Boston’s Wicked Queer LGBTQ festival.


In Sudhanshu Saria’s Loev, two childhood friends (played by Dhruv Ganesh and Shiv Pandit) come to terms with the complexities of their relationship during a weekend getaway. The film had its world premiere at Estonia’s Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival, and has been added to the Netflix catalogue.


Velutha Rathrikal is Razi Muhammed’s queer-themed twist on Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s novel White Nights. Set in a remote village in Kerala, the film explores the relationship that a troubled Adivasi woman shares with a man and another woman.

Velutha Rathrikal.

The Kannada film Harikatha Prasanga is about Hari, a Yakshagana actor who performs female roles. The 105-minute movie is Ananya Kasaravalli’s directorial debut. Tanuj Bhramar’s Dear Dad, starring Tamil actor Arvind Swamy, will also be screened at the festival.

Harikatha Prasanga.

Apart from Indian entries, the programme includes features and shorts from Armenia, Nigeria, Kosovo, Rwanda, Trinidad and the United Arab Emirates. Armenian entry Apricot Groves explores the life of a young Iranian Armenian trans-man living in the US who returns to his homeland to meet his girlfriend’s family.

Apricot Groves.

More Raca’s short film Home is about a lesbian chef in Kosovo who is forced to marry a man just so that she can inherit her deceased parents’ property. The 24-minute Albanian short is Raca’s second film after Amel (2014).


Set in Iran, Abdulla Al Kaabi’s Only Men Go To The Grave follows the unveiling of an Iranian household’s secret during a family member’s funeral. The feature film is the only UAE entry.

Only Men Go To The Grave.

In Flavio R Tambellini’s Gloria and Grace, a dying mother reaches out to her estranged brother to take care of her children, only to find out that he has now become a woman.

Gloria and Grace.
Gloria and Grace.

Besides the narrative features, the festival also offers a range of student films that will compete for the Best Student Short Film award. In Kat Michaelides’s animated short Lethe, two women discover a mystifying pool of water that changes their life. Alexandrina Andre’s Flora is about the coming out of the titular transgender woman to her family.

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The quirks and perks of travelling with your hard to impress mom

We must admit that the jar of pickle always comes in handy.

A year ago, Priyanka, a 26-year-old banking professional, was packing her light-weight duffel bag for an upcoming international trip. Keen to explore the place, she wanted to travel light and fuss free. It was not meant to be. For Priyanka was travelling with her mother, and that meant carrying at least two extra suitcases packed with odds and ends for any eventuality just short of a nuclear war.

Bothered by the extra suitcases that she had to lug around full of snacks and back-up woollens, Priyanka grew frustrated with her mother. However, one day, while out for some sight-seeing Priyanka and her family were famished but there were no decent restaurants in sight. That’s when her mum’s ‘food bag’ came to the rescue. Full of juice boxes, biscuits and sandwiches, her mother had remembered to pack snacks from the hotel for their day out. Towards the end of the trip, Priyanka was grateful to her mother for all her arrangements, especially the extra bag she carried for Priyanka’s shopping.

Priyanka’s story isn’t an isolated one. We spoke to many people about their mother’s travel quirks and habits and weren’t surprised at some of the themes that were consistent across all the travel memoirs.

Indian mothers are always prepared

“My mom keeps the packed suitcases in the hallway one day before our flight date. She will carry multiple print-outs of the flight tickets because she doesn’t trust smartphone batteries. She also never forgets to carry a medical kit for all sorts of illnesses and allergies”, says Shruti, a 27-year-old professional. When asked if the medical kit was helpful during the trip, she answered “All the time”, in a tone that marvelled at her mother’s clairvoyance.

Some of the many things a mother packs in her travel bags. Source: Google Images
Some of the many things a mother packs in her travel bags. Source: Google Images

Indian mothers love to feel at home, and create the same experience for their family, wherever they are

“My mother has a very strange idea of the kind of food you get in foreign lands, so she always packs multiple packets of khakra and poha for our trips. She also has a habit of carrying her favourite teabags to last the entire trip”, relates Kanchan, a marketing professional who is a frequent international flier often accompanied by her mother. Kanchan’s mother, who is very choosy about her tea, was therefore delighted when she was served a hot cup of garam chai on her recent flight to Frankfurt. She is just like many Indian mothers who love to be reminded of home wherever they are and often strive to organise their hotel rooms to give them the coziness of a home.

Most importantly, Indian mothers are tough, especially when it comes to food

Take for instance, the case of Piyush, who recalls, “We went to this fine dining restaurant and my mother kept quizzing the waiter about the ingredients and the method of preparation of a dish. She believed that once she understood the technique, she would be able to make a better version of the dish just so she could pamper me!”

Indian mothers are extremely particular about food – from the way its cooked, to the way it smells and tastes. Foreign delicacies are only allowed to be consumed if they fulfil all the criteria set by Mom i.e. is it good enough for my children to consume?

An approval from an Indian mother is a testament to great quality and great taste. In recognition of the discerning nature of an Indian mum and as a part of their ‘More Indian Than You Think’ commitment, Lufthansa has tailored their in-flight experiences to surpass even her exacting standards. Greeted with a namaste and served by an Indian crew, the passengers feel right at home as they relish the authentic Indian meals and unwind with a cup of garam chai, the perfect accompaniment to go with a variety of Indian entertainment available in the flight. As Lufthansa’s in-flight offerings show, a big part of the brand is inherently Indian because of its relationship with the country spanning over decades.

To see how Lufthansa has internalised the Indian spirit and become the airline of choice for flyers looking for a great Indian experience, watch the video below.


This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Lufthansa as part of their More Indian Than You Think initiative and not by the Scroll editorial team.