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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From catching Goan dances in Lisbon to sampling langar in Munich

A guide to the surprising Indian connect in Lisbon and Munich.

For several decades, a trip to Europe simply meant a visit to London, Paris and the Alps of Switzerland. Indians today, though, are looking beyond the tried and tested destinations and making an attempt to explore the rest of Europe as well. A more integrated global economy, moreover, has resulted in a more widespread Indian diaspora. Indeed, if you know where to look, you’ll find traces of Indian culture even in some unlikely cities. Lisbon and Munich are good cities to include in your European sojourn as they both offer compelling reasons to visit, thanks to a vibrant cultural life. Here’s a guide to everything Indian at Lisbon and Munich, when you wish to take a break from all the sight-seeing and bar crawling you’re likely to indulge in.


Lisbon is known as one of the most vibrant cities in Western Europe. On its streets, the ancient and the modern co-exist in effortless harmony. This shows in the fact that the patron saint day festivities every June make way for a summer that celebrates the arts with rock, jazz and fado concerts, theatre performances and art exhibitions taking place around the city. Every two years, Lisbon also hosts the largest Rock festival in the world, Rock in Rio Lisboa, that sees a staggering footfall.

The cultural life of the city has seen a revival of sorts under the current Prime Minister, Antonio Costa. Costa is of Indian origin, and like many other Indian-origin citizens prominent in Portugal’s political, business and entertainment scenes, he exemplifies Lisbon’s deep Indian connect. Starting from Vasco Da Gama’s voyage to India, Lisbon’s historic connection to Goa is well-documented. Its traces can be still be seen on the streets of both to this day.

While the Indian population in Lisbon is largely integrated with the local population, a few diaspora groups are trying to keep their cultural roots alive. Casa de Goa, formed in the ‘90s, is an association of people of Goans, Damanese and Diuese origins residing in Lisbon. Ekvat (literally meaning ‘roots’ in Konkani) is their art and culture arm that aims to preserve Goan heritage in Portugal. Through all of its almost 30-year-long existence, Ekvat has been presenting traditional Goan dance and music performances in Portugal and internationally.

Be sure to visit the Champlimaud Centre for the Unknown, hailed a masterpiece of contemporary architecture, which was designed by the critically-acclaimed Goan architect Charles Correa. If you pay attention, you can find ancient Indian influences, like cut-out windows and stand-alone pillars. The National Museum of Ancient Art also has on display a collection of intricately-crafted traditional Goan jewellery. At LOSTIn - Esplanada Bar, half of the people can be found lounging about in kurtas and Indian shawls. There’s also a mural of Bal Krishna and a traditional Rajasthani-style door to complete the desi picture. But it’s not just the cultural landmarks that reflect this connection. The integration of Goans in Lisbon is so deep that most households tend to have Goa-inspired textiles and furniture as a part of their home decor, and most families have adapted Goan curries in their cuisine. In the past two decades, the city has seen a surge in the number of non-Goan Indians as well. North Indian delicacies, for example, are readily available and can be found on Zomato, which has a presence in the city.

If you wish to avoid the crowds of the peak tourist season, you can even consider a visit to Lisbon during winter. To plan your trip, check out your travel options here.


Munich’s biggest draw remains the Oktoberfest – the world’s largest beer festival for which millions of people from around the world converge in this historic city. Apart from the flowing Oktoberfest beer, it also offers a great way to get acquainted with the Bavarian folk culture and sample their traditional foods such as Sauerkraut (red cabbage) and Weißwurst (a white sausage).

If you plan to make the most of the Oktoberfest, along with the Bavarian hospitality you also have access to the services of the Indian diaspora settled in Munich. Though the Indian community in Munich is smaller than in other major European destinations, it does offer enough of a desi connect to satisfy your needs. The ISKCON temple at Munich observes all major rituals and welcomes everyone to their Sunday feasts. It’s not unusual to find Germans, dressed in saris and dhotis, engrossed in the bhajans. The Art of Living centre offers yoga and meditation programmes and discourses on various spiritual topics. The atmosphere at the Gurdwara Sri Guru Nanak Sabha is similarly said to be peaceful and accommodating of people of all faiths. They even organise guided tours for the benefit of the non-Sikhs who are curious to learn more about the religion. Their langar is not to be missed.

There are more options that’ll help make your stay more comfortable. Some Indian grocery stores in the city stock all kinds of Indian spices and condiments. In some, like Asien Bazar, you can even bargain in Hindi! Once or twice a month, Indian film screenings do take place in the cinema halls, but the best way to catch up on developments in Indian cinema is to rent video cassettes and VCDs. Kohinoor sells a wide range of Bollywood VCDs, whereas Kumaras Asean Trades sells Tamil cassettes. The local population of Munich, and indeed most Germans too, are largely enamoured by Bollywood. Workshops on Bollywood dance are quite popular, as are Bollywood-themed events like DJ nights and dance parties.

The most attractive time to visit is during the Oktoberfest, but if you can brave the weather, Munich during Christmas is also a sight to behold. You can book your tickets here.

Thanks to the efforts of the Indian diaspora abroad, even lesser-known European destinations offer a satisfying desi connect to the proud Indian traveller. Lufthansa, which offers connectivity to Lisbon and Munich, caters to its Indian flyers’ priorities and understands how proud they are of their culture. In all its India-bound flights and flights departing from India, flyers can expect a greeting of Namaste by an all-Indian crew, Indian food, and popular Indian in-flight entertainment options, making the airline More Indian than You Think. And as the video shows, India’s culture and hospitality have been internalised by Lufthansa to the extent that they now offer a definitive Indian flying experience.


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.