Friday, November 30, 2012


Monday, July 5, 2010

68 Pages Review on Amazon

5.0 out of 5 stars

Based on true stories

August 14, 2009

By Shannon B "Shannon the physicist" (Seattle, WA USA)

This review is from: 68 Pages (DVD)

68 Pages is based on true stories from the diary of an HIV worker, you see into the lives of real people, how HIV invaded their life, and the effects of that diagnosis. In the process you get a wonderful first person look into the gay and transgender communities in India. These stories touch your heart on a deeply emotional level. Because these are based on real people, the characters and how they develop in the film is very natural, and have great depth so that you are as devastated as they are by the diagnosis of HIV. The characters and their interpersonal interactions are not contrived like so many written scripts, but come across as authentic. The actors in these roles show the talent that has developed in the India film community, portraying their characters with integrity and authenticity that connects with the audience. In the process you see into the life and day to day interactions of gay and transgender people in contemporary society. It is every bit as effective as a cultural expose as it is an educational film on HIV.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Kashish - Mumbai International Queer Film Festival



KASHISH- Mumbai International Queer Film Festival being held between April 22nd to April 25th, 2010 in Mumbai promises to be four days of non-stop queer celebration across many platforms of artistic expressions.

Apart from over 80 Indian and International films, the festival has a range of allied activities - exhibitions, book launches, Q&A with filmmakers, panel discussions and of course parties! The festival expects to draw a huge audience from queer as well as non-queer community during its events spread across multiple venues in Mumbai.

Kashish - Mumbai International Queer Film Festival is being organized by Solaris Pictures and Bombay Dost.

About Solaris Pictures: Solaris Pictures is the only Indian film production company that has consistently been making films on queer themes. Its award-winning films like ‘Gulabi Aaina’, ‘Yours Emotionally’ and ‘68 Pages’, all dealing with gay and transgender stories, has pushed the boundaries in queer portrayals in Indian films. (www.solarispictures.com)

About Bombay Dost: Bombay Dost, India’s first registered LGBT magazine, is a standard bearer for the growing confidence and artistic alacrity displayed by India’s LGBT community. Bombay Dost also organizes free fortnightly film screenings known as ‘Sunday High’ as well as other events like book readings and community discussions. (www.bombaydost.co.in)

Kashish - Mumbai International Queer Film Festival is partly supported by UNDP, UNAIDSand Movies That Matter (an initiative of Amnesty International)

Kashish – Mumbai International Queer Film Festival 2010

Centre for Excellence & Research (CEFE)

Ground floor, Riviera, 15th Road,

Santacruz (W), Mumbai - 400 054, INDIA

email: kashishmqff@gmail.com

website: www.mumbaiqueerfest.com

blog: www.mqff2010.blogspot.com

twitter: www.twitter.com/kashish2010

Facebook: www.facebook.com/Kashish.MIQFF


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Order DVDs ONLINE in INDIA

!!!EXCITING NEWS !!!

Order ONLINE in INDIA 
Our DVDs are now just a click away
through Syncline
 
      Please visit the film site to read more:

------------------------------------------------------------------

 You can also order Gulabi Aaina at this link - 

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Discount on DVDs

DUE TO AN OVERWHELMING RESPONSE AND SEVERAL REQUESTS
THE DISCOUNT DEADLINE HAS BEEN EXTENDED TILL END JANUARY

"WE CAN CHANGE"
LIVES OF HIV+ PEOPLE
Gay / transgender men

World AIDS Month DISCOUNT
of $ 10
on DVDS of film '68 PAGES'
$28 - $18

All proceeds go to
Humsafar Trust HIV+ Group, Bombay, India

Login at https://www.createspace.com/251839
and enter discount code Z5JBZL7R

68 Pages

92min | Hindi with English subtitles | Drama | 2007

From the director of Gulabi Aaina and Yours Emotionally comes another hard hitting drama about marginalized people. Subverting the Bollywood film genre of song-dance and high drama, this film places characters ignored by Bollywood centerstage - a transsexual bar dancer, a prostitute, a gay couple - to tell their stories of pain and trauma, of happiness and hope, about being HIV+ and marginalized. A searingly honest film about five lives marked by pain and bound by hope - in 68 Pages of a counselor’s diary.

Produced by: The Humsafar Trust
Directed by: Sridhar Rangayan

DVD Store link - https://www.createspace.com/251839


Film Links: | Website | Blog | imdb | Wikipedia | Amazon |
The Humsafar Trust | Solaris Pictures


Other Indian Gay Film DVDs on Amazon

DOUBLE BILL OF QUEER FILMS



DOUBLE BILL OF QUEER FILMS

As part of the ongoing AIDS Awareness Week, The Humsafar Trust screened two films that touch upon both queer and HIV / AIDS issues –

‘Gulabi Aaina (The Pink Mirror)’ and ‘68 Pages’

Date / Time: December 8 , 6.00 pm
Venue : Juhu Jagruti Hall, 2nd Floor, Next to NMIMS, Opp Bhaidas Hall, Vile Parle West, Mumbai

Screening at NCPA, Mumbai

Screening at NCPA, Mumbai on Dec 12, 2008 ; Organized by Ashok Kumar Foundation

From the comment book:

Interesting film, enjoyed watching it and extremely thought provoking
~ Dipika Roy

Good movie. Try to release in theater

Very touching. Try to market and distribute to a larger audience
~ Nandini Sardesai

Excellent Movie. Needs to be widely shown

Yes, I agree. Needs a comprehensive & aggressive marketing plan.

This is a film worth seeing – should be exhibited in educational and health institution under government sponsorship. Well done!

Very sensitive movie. I hope it is broadcast on TV soon.

Nice attempt on living positively with HIv positive
~ Reetesh Khare

It truly was a great experience. Very thought provoking. The film was very well crafted.
~Payal

A brilliant film. Sensitive. Thought provoking. Superbly directed – bringing out excellent acting – Realistic – wonderful… More power to your elbow!
~ Shugufta Jaffrey

Screening at Habitat Center, Delhi

Screening at Habitat Center, Delhi on Dec 1, 2008 ; Organized by UNDP

From the Comment Book:

The film is excellent, very well directed and will definitely educate the common man
~ Ruchi

The story is well told. Very well formatted. Should try commercial release
~ Dipesh Roy

A beautiful film. Touching, heart-rendering and thought provoking
~ Smitha Verma

A real and difficult story, well told!
~ Jaya

Great movie
~ Amita

I want to congratulate the director for making such a beautiful film
~ Nalini

Clever, interesting and beautiful
~ Priya

Loved the film so so much. Cheers
~ Sujal

Very effective presentation of the issue
~ Ravindra Beleyur

Very good film to mainstream these issues with general public
~ Shishir seth

Very nice picture and role of counselor is good
~ Dilip

Great documentary. Thanks for portraying the counselors
~ Dushyant

The film is very interesting and knowledgeful. The work used ‘chocolate’ can be replaced by condom. Will be more effective
~ A Krishnamurthy

Touched sensitive issues efficiently
~ Rakesh

Friday, November 7, 2008

68 Pages leaves Goa emotionally moved

68 Pages leaves Goa emotionally moved


Click on above pic to view the album

Film 68 Pages was screened in Goa to a very emotional response.

The film was screened on Oct 17, 2008 by Goa's local film group Film Beam in association with Goa State AIDS Control Society alongwith other organizations. The screening was held at the Maquinez Palace which is also the presitigious venue for IFFI.

More than 200 people attended the screening and what was wonderful was that they were from different walks of life - some were film enthusiasts, some from women's organizations, few counselors, a bunch from the queer community Humsaath.

The audience were emotionally moved by the film and expressed their appreciation tearfully. The distinguished panelists who spoke after the viewing not only spoke emotionally about the film but also promised support to take the film and its issues forward and reach it to a wider audience.

Monday, October 6, 2008

68 Pages @ Tasveer film festival


Screening of film '68 Pages' at -
Tasveer : Independent South Asian Film Festival, Seattle, USA
Saturday September 27th, 2008 2:30 PM



Anil Vora's interview with the director Sridhar Rangayan

Anil: It seems to me this is the first such artistic collaboration between a community NGO and a filmmaker in India, is it? [Which is very different than the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation giving money to have the AIDS Jaago films made]. Can you talk more about this collaboration and the potential that it will set an example for future collaborations between NGOs of all stripes and film as a medium to impact people’s lives.

Sridhar: Making 68 Pages has been an enlightening process, not only for me as a filmmaker but also for the cast & crew. Simply because Humsafar, the organization that produced the film has been working with the LGBTQ community at the grassroots level and they brought in their real life experiences from case histories. Every character is an amalgamation of three of more case studies, so that they become representatives of the sub-segment we are talking about. Real stories touch an emotional chord naturally.

My creative job as a writer and director was to present it in an interesting and entertaining way. I used the Bollywood format with song, dance and high melodrama because the grassroots audience I’m targeting are already comfortable with the format. I had only to subvert the genre to my own end - by introducing marginalized characters and placing them as protagonists to convey subliminal messages.

Bollywood usually stretches the credibility of the characters. Here, I had no fear of it because the characters were real. This is also the reaction we’ve received at most of the screenings - that the film is real, honest and emotionally engaging.

Anil: I’m amazed to read about the difficulties you are facing in getting this film distributed widely in India.

Sridhar: There are two reasons for this.

For one, the digital exhibition boom in India, it is a complete myth. There are just about perhaps 10 digital screens in Bombay in which they again show digital versions of the same Bollywood blockbuster. Ditto with digital distribution channels like UFO, etc., which has small screens in most cities and small towns, but they still want the popcorn flicks with big star cast. The real digital films have actually no distribution possibility apart from putting it up online.

There is also a very vicious chicken and egg syndrome at play here. The satellite channels don’t pick up films that have not screened in theaters and the DVD distributors again look for films that have a star cast. So where does alternative cinema head towards – the dustbin!

The second point being of the subject matter. We were told by a distributor: ‘You have no normal characters in the film’ (which means a heterosexual romance)! My producer, Vivek, turned around and said, “As far as I’m concerned, all our characters are normal.”

Anil: I thought I also read that the film was finally releasing at a multiplex in Delhi. Is that true?

Sridhar: Since mainstream distribution seemed out of question, we looked for other options to reach the film across. We initiated a 12 city tour ‘Sang Mere’ festival (with a grant from HIVOS) to take the film across India.

We wanted to kick off the touring festival in Bombay at a mainstream venue and were in talks with several multiplexes. One of them said, ‘Who are the celebrities you are bringing?’. I told them I wanted to screen a film not hold a celebrity circus. Another multiplex who talked about corporate social responsibility didn’t even get back after they visited our website and realized it is a film on homosexuality. And the multiplex in Delhi said their social responsibility is already full up with other issues. I then realized homosexuality and AIDS is much more of a taboo with the corporate world and the educated, compared to the grassroots which is more accepting.

Anyway, going back to your earlier question, collaborating with an organization like Humsafar brings along wonderful benefits – they are connected directly to the audiences. The touring festival has been a great success in the six cities we have screened till date, because Humsafar, in association with a local NGO or government body, brought in the audiences – which included people working with the issue, stakeholders, the community itself and also the general public. The discussions after the screenings have been extremely enriching.

So there is always a way, you see, and I ‘hope’ not to lose hope!

Anil: What has been your distribution experience so far in the US with this film?

Sridhar: We certainly were not looking for theatrical release in US because it is not made for a western audience. We are targeting niche festivals and universities. The DVDs will be soon available on Amazon, which would be of great interest not only to people working with the development sector but also South Asians who want to know about the ground realities in India.

I have packaged four more short films on queer themes, made by other Indian directors, along with 68 Pages in an attempt to provide a platform and encourage short films on the subjects. Otherwise these films never get to be seen anywhere.


Anil: My personal favorites were Payal and Umrao’s stories followed by the gay couple. I thought you were particularly effective in unraveling those stories.

Sridhar: Women (even men in women clothes) always bring out the emotions very well… and perhaps that’s why I’m partial towards them. Every director has a lady muse, so what if mine are drag queens!

Link: http://isaff.tasveer.org/2008/event.php?id=41

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

68 Pages DVDs released on Amazon















68 Pages DVDs released on Amazon:

You can buy DVDs of 68 pages alongwith Bonus Features that includes 4 other queer short films on Amazon. Safe & secure transaction. Free shipping. Click here : http://astore.amazon.com/solarisp-20

In India, DVDs can be purchased in over 10 cities - Mumbai, New Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Mandya, Rajkot, Surat, Pune and Nagpur. Please check www.humsafar.org/68pages/dvd.htm for more details.

68 Pages storms small town in Karnataka

Film 68 Pages screened at 5 venues in Bangalore & Mandya (Karnataka) last fortnight, organized in association with Sangama, Good As You, Alternative Law Forum, Pedestrian Pictures, Karnataka State AIDS Prevention Society, PES College and Rotary Club Mandya, attracting more than 1500 people that included government officials, health agencies, lawyers, film buffs, LGBT people, students and even housewives. It also aroused a lot of interest in the local press even in a small city like Mandya where for the first time the conservative local newspapers headlined issues like HIV, AIDS and homosexuality.

Reaching even to small cities like Mandya, where it screened last week to a packed hall of over 600 people, it not only drew appreciation but also a long discussion about the issues in the film. Speaking at the screening Shri Manjunath Prasad, Project Director, Karnataka State AIDS Prevention Society (KSAPS), urged people to be aware and advocate on these issues. He said it is very important that people in even small towns understand that HIV is not an epidemic restricted to cities and they too should take care.

“I was overwhelmed by the screening in my home town”, says Sridhar Rangayan, the director of the film who was born in Mandya. “In such a conservative town, it was encouraging to see so many people in the audience willing to listen and discuss. Especially when the film screened at the local PES college, the girl students were even bold enough to ask about homosexuality and gender issues. I think it is necessary to awaken and question dogmatic beliefs and value systems”, says Rangayan.

The screening in Bangalore was hosted by Pedestrian Pictures, Good as You and Alternative Law Forum alongwith the film ‘Love in the times of AIDS’ by Deepa Dhanraj in a double bill of queer films that intended to create awareness about homosexuals and the AIDS epidemic.

Rangayan said he hoped that the film raises social conscience about people living with HIV and removing stigma and discrimination. “I hope that this will become a movement to mainstream and integrate sexual minorities”, says Rangayan.


Slideshow: 68 Pages storms Karnataka

Monday, August 18, 2008

18 screenings, 15 cities, 2 months!

It has been a packed two months of screenings for the film - in Germany, USA and India. And more screenings scheduled -

Calendar of Screenings:


June 28 – Paribesh Bhavan, Kolkata (organized by SAATHII and Kolkata Rishta)

July 10 – India International Center, New Delhi (organized by Magic Lantern
Foundation)
July 11 - Kriti Film Club, New Delhi, India (organized by Kriti Film Club)
July 11 - MGM premium theater, Chennai (in partnership with SIAAP)
July 18 - Bollywood & Beyond Festival, Stuttgart, Germany
July 25 - IMA Hall, Nagpur (in partnership with Saarthi Trust)
July 29 – National Film Archives, Pune (in partnership with Samapathik Trust)
August 6 - Rajkot Engineering Association,Rajkot (in partnership with Lakshya Trust)
August 8 – Mehta Hall, Baroda, India (in partnership with Lakshya Trust )
August 10 – Nigah Queer Fest, New Delhi, India
August 15 - Chicago Illinois University, USA
August 16 – Washington DC, USA

Coming up are 5 more screenings in Bangalore, Mandya and New York:



August 19 – Alliance Franchise, Bangalore, India (organized by Sangama)
August 19 – Two Boots Pioneer Theater, New York (organized by Alwan for the Arts
and 3rd I NY)
August 23 - Kalabhavan, Mandya, India (organized by Rotary Club & IMA)
August 28 – Good as You office, Bangalore (organized by ALF and Good As You)
August 30 – IAT, Bangalore (organized by Pedestrian Pictures)



Saturday, July 5, 2008

Time Out Mumbai



Time Out Mumbai

June 27-July10, 2008

From male Rekha imitators to gay executives, director Sridhar Rangayan has depicted a range of homosexual exeperiences in his films. 68 Pages is his third movie after Gulabi Aaina, about drag queens, and Yours Emotionally!, about a gay affair British tourist and an Indian male. Rangayan’s new feature, 68 Pages, is about the lives of five HIV-positive individuals as told by counselor (Mouli Ganguly). The stories are of corporate employee Nishit (Zafar Karachiwala), prostitute Payal (Jayati Bhatia), transsexual bar dancer Umrao (Uday Sonawane), gay researcher Kiran (Joy Sengupta) and municipal sweeper Nathu (Abhay Kulkarni). The storytelling style is as basic as the aesthetics, but some episodes are moving, especially those of Umrao and Payal. 68 Pages is scheduled to be screened on June 26 at a city multiplex. A DVD release is also planned.

Queer crash


Telegraph (westside view), Kolkata July1, 2008
Interconnected stories of sexual minorities, born in a city that doesn’t have time to connect

The usual romances of Bollywood were turned on their head at a screening in Calcutta on Saturday — thanks in part to British funding. A new film, backed by the British Department for International Development (DFID), uses all the usual tropes of the Bollywood blockbuster: song, dance and close-up-spangled drama. But this time it is not a boy-meets-girl scenario. Here the lovers are transsexuals, bar dancers, prostitutes and a gay couple — and their tragedies are based on the real-life stories of those facing HIV in Mumbai.

68 Pages is directed by Sridhar Rangayan — who, I should declare, directed me in another gay film with British funding, Yours Emotionally!. But while Yours Emotionally! was in English and aimed primarily at an international film festival audience, 68 Pages is in Hindi and sloshing with plenty of Bolly thrills and spills. Sridhar has a different audience in mind.

“It is for a mainstream grassroots audience,” Sridhar tells me on the phone, after the Saturday screening. “We felt that we wanted to help change their way of looking at sexual minorities. DFID UK had a programme running in India which was doing advocacy work on HIV AIDS — and they wanted to do a film on the situation here.”

Looking at its assemblage of unusual characters — who are based on the stories of real-life friends of the Mumbai sexual health organisation, The Humsafar Trust — the film charts lives riddled with trauma, happiness and hope. It examines people who, stuck with HIV, are marginalised.

“This is a Bombay that we didn’t know of,” says Sridhar. “It’s the one we never stopped to think about it. It’s about interconnected stories of people in a city who don’t have time to connect.” He talks about the Oscar-winning movie Crash — the one which pipped Brokeback Mountain to take Best Film in tinsel town last year — even calling his film a “queer Crash”. His reasoning: it deals with HIV and sexuality where Crash dealt with race, through the lens of a city. “It is a Mumbai version of LA — we do not connect with the people around us,” Sridhar explains.

Did Calcutta connect? Speaking after the screening, perhaps unsurprisingly, Sridhar’s answer was yes. People had been crying and gasped through the film, he said. “Though the film is treated in a very melodramatic format, the characters are real. It could be about somebody right in the area you are living — a transsexual person that you never tried to understand.” The screening was part of Calcutta’s Rainbow Pride week, which culminated in a parade on Sunday.
While some gay rights activists may be cursing Britain for having ever brought the infamous section 377 to India, Shah Rukh Khan had nothing but praise for London this week. Visiting the British capital for social engagements, he found time to tell London reporter Anil Sinanan: “I say it as a joke to everyone that when the English left India, we were not going to let them go! It [London] is the greatest city in the world. It feels like an extension of middle-class Mumbai.” Home from home then? Maybe it’s the red buses that do it.

Jack Lamport(A writer and part-time actor based in London)

Capital witnesses Pride walk, but 68 Pages of anguish gets no hearing

by Paromita-Chakrabarti

Posted online: Friday , July 04, 2008 at 11:54:39

New Delhi, July 3

Director Sridhar Rangayan’s award-winning movie on HIV-affected gays finds no hall for screening


On June 29, as Delhi’s saw its first Rainbow Pride March, Sridhar Rangayan was busy trying to organise shows for his latest film, 68 Pages.


Like his previous two films, 68 Pages deals with issues close to Rangayan’s heart — lives of MSMs (men who have sex with men) who have been infected with HIV.


“But for all the hullabaloo about increased awareness about gays, educated urban heterosexuals are still scared to show empathy. There is no aggressive homophobia, but no support either,” shrugs the 45-year-old human rights activist.
Rangayan has reasons to believe so.


His film, which won the Silver Remi at the Houston World Fest earlier this year, is yet to be released in India as no mainstream distributor has come forward to screen it.


“When I made the film, I tried my best to stick to the narrative mode, so the audience could connect with it even if the subject was unfamiliar. But when I met the distributors, I realised it did not matter. They all refused to screen it on ground that a film on homosexuality which talks about AIDS, is not going to bring them any audience,” he says.


In Delhi alone, Rangayan had got in touch with all major multiplex owners, but the experience, he says, has left him rather sceptical.


“The PVR authorities did not respond for the longest time. Finally, when I sent them a rather curt mail, they replied that it did not quite fit even their corporate social responsibility profile.”
68 Pages deals with the lives of five HIV positive individuals — a trans-sexual bar dancer, a gay couple, a sex worker and a drug user — each grappling to come to terms with their own lives.
The story is a narrative from the personal diary of a counsellor who worked with them.
But instead of a bleak, oblique narrative, Rangayan has focussed on the idea of hope and redemption.


He drew his inspiration from the first woman counsellor who worked at his NGO, Humsafar Trust, in Mumbai, one of India’s first organisations to work with sexual minorities. Humsafar Trust is also the co-producer of the film.


The IIT Mumbai alumnus, who has worked with directors like Kalpana Lajmi, Sai Paranjape among others, is now distributing the film via the NGO route.


Humsafar Trust and their associates have come forward to hold a 12-city promotion tour, which includes Mumbai, Baroda, Nagpur, Indore, Chennai, Kolkata and Bangalore.


“We are going to show at auditoriums and hold discussion sessions afterwards, so there is a dialogue. That’s the only way to clear misconceptions,” he says.


In Delhi, Rangayan has found support in Gargi Sen’s Magic Lantern Foundation, an NGO which distributes non-commercial films.


A screening will be held on July 10 at the India International Centre. Naz Foundation, an NGO as well as Kriti, a city-based film club, too are organising screening. Rangayan is also planning to bring out DVDs of the movie.


All these, the director, says, are a small step towards their ultimate goal.


“It’s not just Article 377 which needs amendment. There’s still a long way to go before people’s mindset about alternative sexuality changes,” he says.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

68 Pages wins Award !!









68 Pages won the Silver Remi Award at Worldfest 2008, Houston, USA.
This is a fabulous encouragement to motivate us to reach the film further.

The film would be distributed soon and DVDs will be available in a couple of months.

Website - 68 Pages

We have a new WEBSITE.
http://www.humsafar.org/68pages.htm
Check out Trailers, Song, Audience Reactions and a lot more!

Go on, browse around and let us hear your feedback.
Cheers and stay tuned.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Global Themes with an Indian Outlook - Future of Indian Cinema

Sridhar Rangayan with Naseeruddin Shah & Dr.Jabbar Patel
Global Themes with an Indian Outlook - Future of Indian Cinema
Report: Roseliz Francis

'Contemporary Indian Cinema - Challenges and Prospects' was the theme of the second edition of the Open Forum of the 12-IFFK. the panelists were veteran Indian actor Naseeruddin Shah, noted Filmmakers Jabbar Patel, P.T.Kunjumohammed and Sridhar Rangayan, and the moderator was Unnikrishnan B.

Naseeruddin Shah felt that the conundrum of what exactly is 'Indian' was the real bone of contention. He stated that contemporary Indian cinema was synonymous with Bollywood and this was not a positive trend. While the films from the other regions of India were isolated he predicted that the fascination with these clichéd 'song and dance sequences' would soon die out.

Noted filmmaker Jabbar Patel opined that it was the content of Indian cinema accessible to the world that should be focused on. he added it was the onus of the upcoming filmmakers to create meaningful cinema as against mainstream Bollywood cinema. he said that 'Middle Cinema' will continue the new wave generated by parallel cinema earlier on. Parallel cinema lacked genres while gaining expertise on specific themes. Middle cinema will transcend these limitations.

Sridhar Rangayan gave an overview on the struggles of 'underground'/'queer' film makers to deal with contemporary themes. Though the digital trends were a boon, he said production and distribution expenses and censorship have curtailed the wings of the new age Indian film makers.

P.T.Kunjumuhammed said how it is an inferior mindset that has caused many a regional film not reaching a global audience.

Source: Official Bulletin for IFFK 2007, Dec 10.

Cinema of / at the Margins

International Film Festival of Kerala 2007

Sridhar Rangayan with Chilean filmmaker Miguel Littin

It's time to state propositions to break the infernal walls that marginalize
Report: Roseliz Francis

Politics, race, religion, economics, sexuality and regional differences; it was a kaleidoscope of images on marginalization that came from the panel of the first seminar of the 12th IFFK held at Hotel Horizon on 'Cinema of / at the Margins'. The illustrious panel consisted of Chilean filmmaker Miguel Littin, UK based filmmaker Horace Ove, Indian filmmakers P.T.Kunjumohammed and Sridhar Rangayan and film critic V.C.Harris.

An animated debate to define 'who' or 'what' is marginalized created a vivacious ambience. Miguel Littin said it was necessary to locate the center to be able to define the margins. Speaking of Latin American Cinema he said that there were several constraints on independent and woman filmmakers. he spoke about the dynamics of economics in cinema from third world countries. the fact that only six to seven films were produced in a country like Chile was attributed to the limited access to technology and the constraints in raising funds to produce and distribute films, which are also effected by the political resolutions of a state. He highlighted that it was the access to resources like capital and technology that sought immediate attention. he said that the cultural ambassadors of a country should facilitate an open market for cinema sans censorship. he envisioned a platform where the Latin American filmmakers shared a platform with Italian, French and Third world counterparts to emancipate the marginalized. He said it was "time to state propositions to break the infernal walls that marginalize".

Sridhar Rangayan, director of '68 Pages', voiced the subjugation of the 'Queer' filmmakers, who are themselves marginalized. He said that it was not the number, but the content of films that mattered. Though India produced over 1000 films a year, they fail to give a voice to the marginalized. He was talking of the homosexuals and transsexuals in particular. He added that the language of cinema today has to adhere to certain stereotypes to appeal to the masses. This adherence led to these oppressive classes being doubly stigmatized. He added that transgender characters were carved out in films only for dramatic conveniences and not for emancipating them. He criticized popular cinema like 'Kal Ho Na Ho' for ridiculing homosexuality but was highly appreciative of the Malayalam movie 'Sancharam', 'My Brother Nikhil' and 'Fire' for breaking conventions in portraying such issues. His was a clarion call for filmmakers to "make cinema rooted in reality and to make the marginalized more visible".

P.T.Kunjumohammed said it was his brief stint in Dubai in the early 70s that inspired him to defend his culture through his films as a defiance of the then existing European standards in cinema. In his 'Pardesi' he has tried to inculcate the singular voices of many who are marginalized.

Horace Ove, an independent filmmaker based in UK, opined that making independent films is not easy. All those who are ready to experiment should collaborate to form an autonomous film movement which could depict the political and social issues of the marginalized world over.

Film critic Dr.V.C.Harris spoke of marginalization at various levels. he spoke of the dominance of Hollywood films at the universal level; Bollywood being synonymous with Indian Cinema where regional cinema is marginalized and within regional films the upper hand that popular films have over parallel cinema. he also echoed Littin when he expressed "the need to establish a center to identify the margins".

A counter statement from a participant that margins no longer existed in cinema today took the discussion to the next level. However, all the panelists held that though anybody can make films today, the crux of the predicament lies in the reach of these films to a global audience.

Source: Official Bulletin of IFFK 2007, Dec.10

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Kerala fest pictures

A mosaic of pics from the 12th International Film festival of Kerala where 68 Pages was screened.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Film India Worldwide Nov 2007-Jan 2008

We are pleased and honoured to be part of the exclusive selection of films collated by the magazine Film India Worldwide in their section Festival Touchstone (page 21)


Text Excerpt :
68 Pages
Sridhar Rangayan
Selected for the 2007 Kerala festival, this digital film depicts individual stories of pain recorded in HIV/AIDS counsellor Mansi's diary. After a broken love affair, the career-minded Mansi joins a community health centre where her clients include gay and trans-gendered men. She also works alongside sex workers and IDU users at a leading psychiatrist's clinic and the local municipal hospital. Based on reflections of true-life incidents and characters, the film's concept was born within these communities with the help of NGOs working with them.

Mansi's recorded stories deal with five HIV positive persons from different high risk groups, gay, transgender, sex worker and drug user, whose lives change dramatically when they learn of their status. the 90-minute film's cast includes Mouli Ganguly, Joy Sengupta, Zafar Karachiwala, Jayati Bhatia, Uday Sonawane and Abhay Kulkarni. Co-scripted by Vivek Anand and Sridhar Rangayan, its cinematography is by Shubransu Das and music by xen@bob - the fusing of two music groups Nexus and Band of Boys.

The film is produced by The Humsafar Trust, (since 1994 this male sexual health agency has provided diagnostic, counselling and treatment facilities to people from the gay and transgender communities) in association with Solaris Pictures. Director Rangayan, a graduate of IIT-Mumbai, has directed / scripted award winning films, among them the notable Gulabi Aaina, a film on Indian transsexuals and Yours Emotionally! a queer journey through India. Managing to combine advocacy and entertainment in his films, Rangayan runs Solaris Pictures in partnership with Saagar Gupta.

Monday, December 3, 2007

World Premiere of '68 Pages' @ International Film Festival of Kerala




World Premiere of '68 Pages' at the International Film Festival of Kerala, Trivandrum on December 9th.

The film screens again on December 13th.

The show timings are:
Sunday 9 December, 11.30am at KalaBhavan
Thursday 13 december, 3.00pm at Shree Theatre


Festival website: http://www.keralafilm.com/

Friday, November 30, 2007

Wolds AIDS Day screenings of 68 Pages

Film '68 Pages' is screening across more than 10 venues in the coming fortnight to mark the World AIDS Day. The schedule is as below :

68 Pages Schedule for 1st to 15th December 2007
Friday, 30th November 2007
Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai
06:00PM - 09:00PM
For: Counselors of Gujarat SACS

Saturday, 01st December 2007
Alliance de Francaise, New Delhi
4.30pm - 6.30pm
For: Donor Agencies and various stakeholders

Saturday, 01st December 2007
SNDT University , Mumbai
02:00PM - 04:00PM
For: Students of SNDT University

Tuesday, 04th December 2007
Khalsa College, Mumbai
02:00PM - 05:00PM
For: Students of Khalsa

Wednesday, 05th December 2007
Mithibhai College, Mumbai
03:00PM - 06:00PM
For: Students of Mithibai

Thursday, 06th December 2007
Jai Hind College, Mumbai
03:00PM - 06:00PM
For: Students of Jaihind

Friday, 07th December 2007
The Humsafar Trust Vakola DIC, Mumbai
06:30PM - 09:00PM
For: MSM and TG Population

Saturday, 08th December 2007
Kalyan Dombivli Municipal Corporation (KDMC) Auditorium, Thane
06:00PM - 08:30PM
For: Municipal Corporation officials

Wednesday, 12th December 2007
Thane Engineering College Auditorium, Thane
02:00PM - 05:00PM
For: Students of Thane Engineering College

Thursday, 13th December 2007
St. Pius College Auditorium, Mumbai
02.00PM - 05.00PM
For: Senior Citizens of Mumbai

Friday, October 26, 2007

Pix from the screening for stakeholders



You can view the pictures and download it at: http://picasaweb.google.com/68pages/ScreeningForDonorsNGOsAndOtherStakeholders

Screening for Donor agencies and NGOs

Date: 11th October, 2007 Venue: Juhu Jagruti Hall

An exclusive screening of the film was held at Juhu Jagruti Hall, NMIMS for the staff members of donor agencies and partner NGOs/CBOs. There were representatives from MDACS, Avert Society, FHI, FPAI and SOSVA.

After the screening the audience gave a standing ovation to the film and its entire team. Sanjeev Jain said “bravo we all are speechless”, Sanjeev Gaikwad said “After a long time I have cried watching a film, it really hits”. After the screening most of the audiences were moist eyed. Uma Mehta said that she is highly touched with the line at the end that says “a warm salute to all counselors”.

Most of them felt that each character was well established and leave a mark at the end. Vivek Anand, CEO Humsafar, informed everyone that this film will also be used as a tool to supplement the efforts of NACP III as an advocacy tool to sensitize on the issues of MSM/TG.

All the counselors who came for the screening felt that this movie should not be limited to NGO/CBO it should be watched by everyone in the society as the message in the movie needs to be reached out, so that we more students would like to make their career in counseling. Most of the counselors felt this movie can also help to understand the MSM/TG issues and how to counsel them. This movie should be used by SACS and other funding agencies in their trainings for counselors.

Some comments -

Please accept my congratulations for a landmark film produced by the Humsafar trust. The deeply touching way in which the film spools out and the characters bring to life real issues being faced by people, the human dimensions, the message of hope and the way it leaves you moved, yet hopeful at the end is beyond description. Excellent script, direction, casting, performances, research and topicality have been blended effectively.
Dr.Sanjeev Singh Gaekwad
Director-Maharashtra, Family Health International .
Very sensitively made, realistic in it's portrayal and true to the emotions that exist in such situations. Each story was well defined with equal emphasis given to the central and supporting characters. Strongly brought out the complex circumstances that HIV/AIDS brings into individual's lives as well as the turmoil of learning one's HIV positive status. The film beautifully showed a relationship between 2 men as it truly is and most importantly, without sensationalization which will make general viewers more open. You leave the film with an understanding of the issues involved but with a clear sense of hope
Amrita Bhende
Programme Officer, Family Health International
It was indeed a wonderful film depicting the vital role of a counselor in HIV testing of clients and further providing psychological support to those found positive. The film truly illustrated how a counselor goes beyond her/ his duty and becomes a friend-in-need to those who are rejected or have fear of rejection by the society. I think the film will not just be praised by NGO sector or marginalized communities but will definitely be liked by general people as well. One small point that I felt was not correctly portrayed was that the Counselor tells Nishit (drug addict) that his HIV test was done from a reliable lab by his company (that means one test had confirmed his HIV positive status). I think it would have been better to suggest him to go for second test to confirm his HIV positive status.
Anjali Singh
Training Officer, Family Health International
Let me first thank you for inviting us for the special screening of 68 pages. Personally after ages I have seen a film that touches a chord in my soul. I was deeply touched by the sensitivities in the film and the near perfect portrayal of characters by the mainstream actors. Technically your team has done a fantastic job and though this film being a narrative, it had all the ingredients of captivating the audience, and I was not an exception. For me this wasn’t just another viewing of a film but an experience that I would always cherish.

Being from a public health background, I cannot overemphasize the importance of a counselor’s role in shaping up lives of million people around you. And I am glad this film has provided a platform and given due respect to the breed of counselors which they have always deserved but were the unsung heroes of the medical fraternity.

This is also an eye opener for counselors, health care providers and the general population that a counselor if decides to perform the job expected out of them, they can provide million reasons for people to live with hope and dignity.

Counseling is much more than just providing health information or a basket of choices but its more about swapping the position of a counselor and a counselee to understand the emotional turmoil a beneficiary can be in. It’s not just a scratch of the skin talk but getting emotionally involved with the clients and making them feel that they are also an integral part of the society and providing reasons for them to be proud of.

Sridhar has done a fabulous job and have shown great courage in touching a subject which has always been a taboo. I hope this film will go a long way in educating masses and dispelling their fear regarding sero - positive people and help in reducing discrimination.
…………… breathtaking, captivating, motivating emotional saga is my only reaction to 68 Pages.

Well done. Cheers!!!!!!
Dr.Sachin Gupte
Senior Technical Officer, Family Health International
As an M & E person I must first commend the hard work the counselor who has documented all her valuable experience which provides rich data for further learning. I keep introducing myself to many people as an M & E officer who loves to “Speak to data”. Here is an example how a “data can speak for itself” and can make world of difference in lives of many. This is greatest respect for all the counselor who are working hard for making difference in the lives of many vulnerable population. According to me counselor position in HIV prevention and care and support programme is most crucial but has a factor of burnout. This is a real motivator for all those who are putting a lot of work.

Kudos to humsafar team which has worked hard under your leadership and not to forget the film crew under the leadership of Sreedhar in making this a truly memorable experience for all of us.
Virupax Ranebennur
M & E Officer, Family Health International
Thank you for using your very creative brain and bringing out the raw realities of life with a clear light of hope that life does not stop here it goes on and the dreams can be accomplished.

My next request will be that please look at the various sources of taking this forward to the larger masses, forums, civil societies and the 2% Decision makers, that we need to do things urgently with zeal and dedication.

It seems that I am exhausted with my limited knowledge of words to describe the penetration and impact of the film on me. I am still speechless and in discomfort.

May God bless you and the whole team for the quality research, the story and the planning.
Sanjeev Jain
Senior Programme Manager, Family Health International

Thank you for such a excellent film. I think the Counselors should learn few things through this film. One is that the Counselor in the film balanced her personal and professional life well. At times when she was going through her emotional problem, she never became weak nor did she make her clients become weak. Thanks again for a very good film.
Ashish Bosle
Programme Officer, FHI/FPAI Aastha Project

The Film was brilliant! Issues have been dealt with such sensitivity and depth. This film should definitely become 'compulsory' viewing in all counseling and HIV/AIDS related training programs.

I sincerely hope that you are able to get a commercial release. Wishing you and the HST team the very best ...always.
Amita
Senior Project Manager, FHI/FPAI Aastha Project

Thanks for the screening. Great Work! The movie inspires us to do more. Its all about how our efforts and gestures can bring a change in others' life. I was touched. Congrats to the team.
Seema Sayyed
Programme Officer, FPA India, Aastha Project

The film is wonderful, which will touch the heart of everyone. It is a very powerful film.
Swati Mohapatra
IEC/BCC Coordinator, Avert Society


"In short time lots of issues covered. Also helped to accept those who are not accepted by others. Great movie."
Pradnya Kharate Technical Officer, SOSVA

"It is excellent movie, which I seen first time, Good for everything."
Pramod Shinde Project Coordinator, NSVK

"Excellent movie, I really enjoyed. It touched to my heart, all the best."
Rukpali Goswami Counselor, CDI

Excellent. Life changing, attitude changing towards High Risk Groups. It should published to all the communities. It should released in theaters
Gaikwad Project Coordinator, Hope Foundation

"The movie was great, I want to give suggestion to you, if possible to put one meeting for all counselors and show this film to them. Great movie"
Jyoti Kasbe Counselor, Lokparishad

"One of the most wonderful film."
Pramod Humsaaya

"A good film, which can be used to sensitize the mass about HIV issues. Good work"
Rama Bhave Documentation Officer, Family Health International

"Thanks for providing such a good looking face, as a counselor. After watching the movie, I am realizing the responsibility."
Shabana Sheikh Counselor, SAI

"Today I think, How I am."
Prashant B. Shirsath Advocacy Officer, CORO

"Excellent Movie, A must see for the masses."
Dr. Vidyamala Technical Officer, Family Health International

"Good work done by research team as well as crew members, casting in film. It made us feel so touchy and we all were speechless"
Riji Nair Programme Officer, Family Planning Association of India-Aastha Project

"It is just excellent movie. The best part is counselor’s role and the song."
Sachin R Katlear Project Coordinator, NSP

"Excellent Movie"
Aashish A Sabale Advocacy Officer, SAI

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Not just another AIDS movie: Maker of Gulabi Aaina ready with 68 Pages



By : Piyush Roy, Sunday , October 07, 2007
Indian Express

Mira Nair’s AIDS JAAGO—a combination of four short films on AIDS-related cases from India also showcasing directors like Santosh Sivan, Vishal Bharadwaj, Farhan Akhtar—may have been courting news for its premiere at the recently concluded Toronto Film Festival, closer home, another director Sridhar Rangayan’s third film, 68 Pages, is doing the same—albeit quietly.
His film weaves together five empathetic Mumbai-based short stories revolving around AIDS victims from some of the marginalised sections of society like a sex worker, a transsexual bar dancer and a gay couple. The common thread is hope.

Rangayan, who had earlier made two films revolving around the Indian homosexual community including the critically acclaimed Gulabi Aaina (India’s first film on drag queens that made it to the official selection of over 30 international film festivals) says: “Though we have been making proposals to various bodies for the last two years for an advocacy film on the issue of AIDS amongst MSMs (men having sex with men/ homosexuals) and transgenders it didn’t progress beyond the concept note till a UK agency, DFID, chipped in early this year to produce it in association with the Humsafar Trust.”

Vivek Anand, executive producer and co-writer of 68 Pages—he is also CEO of Humsafar Trust—says: “We made it as a support to the National AIDS Control Programme Phase 3, which in its third and latest phase aims to focus on issues amongst homosexuals, transgenders, sex-workers and intravenous drug users, all of who find representation in the film.”

While three million people are estimated to be HIV positive in India today, according to the NSS 2005 survey, 7.5 per cent among MSMs, 8.5 per cent among sex-workers and 49 per cent among transgenders are reported to have tested positive, adds Anand.

68 Pages is based on real life experiences of Vrushali Deshmukh, a former counsellor with the Humsafar Trust. “She worked with us from 1999 to the fall of 2004 and handled over 6,000 cases involving MSMs and transgenders in Mumbai,” says Anand, adding, “And like her onscreen character Mansi, she too did go to the Columbia University to do her Masters in Public Health.”

Rangayan, who has for the first time opted for well-known faces from TV and theatre like Mouli Ganguly, Jayati Bhatia, Zafar Karachiwala and Joy Sengupta, says, “Known faces help in pushing an advocacy issue forward. We initially toyed with the idea of casting Smriti Irani or Mona Singh in the counsellor’s role because they are perceived as compassionate and strong characters, but then realised that their onscreen images of Tulsi and Jassi were too overbearing. So we zeroed in on Mouli Ganguly.”

Anand reveals that the entire cast and crew of 68 Pages worked at half their market prices for the film that was wrapped up in 11 days in Mumbai. “We made it at one per cent the budget of Salaam-e-Ishq and 10 perc ent of Bheja Fry,” says Rangayan.

Rangayan hopes the pre-release goodwill will contribute to him being third time lucky with the Indian Censor Board. Though internationally feted, both his previous films still await a censor certificate for an India screening. “We applied thrice with the board in Delhi for releasing my last film Yours Emotionally! But forget okaying it with a cut or two, they rejected it.”

Hopefully 68 Pages will have it better.

Screening at British Council

Where: British Council

When: Oct 3, 2007

Why: Screening of film '68 Pages'

Who: Dolly Thakore, Rahul D'Cunha, Narayani Shastri, Jayati Bhatia, Joy Sengupta


Wednesday evening saw more than hundred film enthusiasts come together at the British Council for a preview of Sridhar Rangayan's new film '68 Pages' which deals with HIV and marginalized people.



Theater actor Zafar Karachiwala, who also plays one of the lead character of a drug addict in the film, introduced the event. He said that such films were needed to bring awareness about HIV and other issues.

Rashmi Iyer, the treasurer of ABS (Association of British Scholars) who co-sponsored the event, said that their association was very happy to be part of such an event which combined art and humanity. She was all praise for the producer and director of the film who had taken the bold step to bring out such a film.

Vivek Anand, CEO of The Humsafar Trust, who has produced the film said that the film is part of the NGO's attempt, not only to control the epidemic within the gay and transsexual community, but also carry on advocacy about mainstreaming their issues.

The director of the film Sridhar Rangayan, whose earlier films 'Gulabi Aaina' and 'Yours Emotionally!' too had screened to packed houses at British Council surprised the audience by saying his film was not about HIV positive people. He elaborated, " My film is about the unknown Bombay. In this crowded metro, we are all so caught up with our careers, relationships and life in general that we have forgotten to pause and look at the person next to us - at an airport or caf or on the streets or for that matter even pause to see ourselves. This film is not a bugle call for action, but just a soft reminder to pause and reflect and make an effort to understand"

Present at the screening were Joy Sengupta and Jayati Bhatia who play important roles in the film as well as Narayani Shastri who has sung a song for the film, alongwith Sherrin Varghese of Band of Boys who has composed the song.

After the screening Dolly Thakore said that she had seen Rangayan's earlier films too, "but this is the best". Most of the audience felt that the characters of the transsexual bar dancer was so real and not caricaturized as in most films. Also the gay couple, for the first time was not stereotypical and non-effeminate.

An elderly gentleman Mr.Karani said, "Many years ago I had seen Meera Nair's Salaam Bombay which disturbed me. Now after so many years a film which has disturbed me again. It has made me think that though I am from Bombay, I am ignorant of it and many of its people. I thank the director for allowing me to peep into a different segment of Bombay which was unknown."

Monday, September 24, 2007

Public Voices

(Comments by the audience at the GB Film Fest preview at National College Bandra)

"I think the movie was brilliant, good going, especially the character of Paayal was mind blowing"
~ Dr. Zaheer

"The programme was good. Need more such programmes dealing with problems with people who are married and gays."
~ Romit Mukherjee

"I loved the movie... great performances; tell the people of the world that we do exist."
~ Shailesh Panwalakar

"This film not only reflects the issue, but also preached humanity through the character of Mansi, the world requires it."
~ Amit

"Realistic, sensitive, motivating and practical"
~ Shailesh Thakur

"Awesome, super acting, should be shown to the entire world."
~ Mangesh Gawde

"Very beautifully made film. I do hope it can reach out to more and more people."
~ Alok Agarwal

"Very sensitively made movie. The counselor should have been (technically speaking) little more detached and neutral."
~ Dr. Arindam Basu

"The film was beautifully made well effort. BRAVO"
~ Ashish Verma

"Excellent story cast and characters. Keep it on all the best."
~ Rohan

"Great effort all the best"
~ Ameya

"Beautifully scripted and crafted. Moving film. Congrats"
~ Anant. V

(Audience reactions from the couple of previews held recently)

“The film is a sensitive and touching portrayal of marginalized communities.”
~ Dr. Rajeev Jerajani, psychiatrist

“I screen hundreds of films in this preview theatre but hardly watch them. Today, I just started watching and saw the entire film and had tears in my eyes.”
~ Projectionist, Star preview theatre, Mumbai

“Good Job…Good Performances”
~ Bindu Madhav Khire, Samapathik Trust, Pune

“Excellent Performances” ~ Sujal, a viewer

“Good Potential for mainstream”
~ Sanjay Thakur, a viewer

“Outstanding” ~ Kevin Menezes, a viewer

“I had actually come to attend another function at this venue but I did not leave the auditorium when I started seeing this film even though I realized my mistake. The film says a lot about HIV positive people.”
~ a viewer

“Your film is a slap on the face of society.”
~ Gitanjali Dhulekar, a viewer

“Never realized that people like Umrao exist in society. Umrao’s character is amazing.”
~ Avinash Mehto, Head of Avi Creations, an edit set-up

“The film was so compelling that I had to come for the second screening too”
~ Abhijit Aher, a viewer

“This film has inspired me and I want to become a counselor.”
~ Umang Sheth, a viewer

“For the first time, there’s a film that recognizes the efforts of counselors.”
~ Kalpita Patil-Lanjekar, a counselor

“In one stroke, you have made counselors more important than doctors and destroyed the myth that only doctors can help”
~ Dr. Maninder Setia, Ph.D. student at McGill University, Montreal

“The discrimination shown in the film is so real. We have seen it all and lived it all.”
~ Dr. Hemangi Jerajani, Head of the Department, Skin and Dermatology, LTMG Hospital, Mumbai

“A sensitive portrayal of a real-life counselor and a true profile of a TISS student.”
~ Brinelle D’Souza, professor, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai

“Extremely touching and sensitive, the film deals with issues of HIV positive people in a real manner.”
~ Rita Sonawat, Head of the Department, Human Development, SNDT University, Mumbai

“I am grateful to Rita m’am for bringing me along to watch this film. It should be made mandatory viewing for all youth in the country.”
~ a student of SNDT University

“There are many times when I have gone home from work and cried for the pain of my counselees. And this film reflects my feelings.”
~ Rajashree, a counselor

“V. Good ! an eye opener ! Good educational film”
~ Kanchan Karani, a viewer

“The film is an eye-opener to the kind of good work being done with HIV positive people.”
~ Rekha Shah, a viewer

“Four years of my life flashed in front of my eyes. I thought I was reliving my life at Humsafar once again.”
~ Vrushali Deshmukh, ex-counseling head at The Humsafar Trust, Mumbai, the woman on whose experiences the film is based

Saturday, September 22, 2007

GB fest viewer feedback

Feedback by a viewer at GB film fest:

68 Pages - the Humsafar Trust movie
"Deep"

I watched this movie a few hours ago at a Gay Bombay film show at National College, Bandra, Mumbai.

A sensitive portrayal of "minorities" and issues most Indians would rather brush under the carpet. The movie is "on your face" without being apologetic about it. The characters have been played by superb actors and all, except Uday Sonawane, are professional stage artists. Uday has acted very well indeed and should seriously take up acting.

It does not paint a pretty picture of either the gay community or the lives of cross dressers. It does not sugar-coat the harshness of HIV. And therein lies its beauty. It does take some dramatic licenses on the role of the counselor - no mental health professional can afford to get so close to her patients. Nor are HIV test reports handed over to people without pre-counseling. But these minor aberrations can be excused considering that the movie has to move on.

All in all, a great movie for the thinking audience.

(an excerpt)

Friday, September 21, 2007

Preview for counselors at PSI

"Thank you for the wonderful movie. Below is the feedback from our counselors and team members. We are glad to hear that it will be screened during trainings for SACS counselors. It is a good tool to reach out to a lot of people working in this field. I hope you will soon have the sub-titled version, so that we can have an opportunity to screen it to our team members in South India."
~ Gopa Khan, PSI

68 Pages
By Humsafar

Feedback:
This movie was screened for PSI’s Refresher training on Sept 6th , 2007 for over 25 VCT and Helpline counselors and other VCT staff members. The movie was well-received by the counselors and PSI staff. Everyone felt that it was an unusual and well made movie that provided a counselors perspective on how a counselor should ideally be non-judgemental and supportive of HIV Positive clients and be their advocate.

The key role played by “Mansi” Counselor and her perspective on her clients were shared by the PSI counselors. Most of them could relate to her role and felt it was their life being played out in the movie and the various challenges they faced with their clients.

The important aspect of the movie was how it brought characters and situations alive and made them “normal” and “real” for the general audience. Most of our clients who are CSW or transgendered clients face daily harassment and stigma and discrimination. Showing their daily lives with their families, their concerns for survival made counselors realize the challenges our clients face. The discrimination faced by “Payal” in the hospital by a nurse bought to the fore the challenges the clients face with the burden of being HIV Positive.

“Kiran” and his partners role was greatly appreciated by the counselors. Such movies help bring out sexuality issues in the open and remove the stigma associated with MSM clients. The breakdown in the relationship between the couple was well defined and the poignant moment when the counselor reveals “Kirans” HIV status and the counselor’s and the client’s grief in dealing with the unexpected test result.

The other touching episode was the role of the BMC sweeper, who was an unknown person, who succumbs to his illness and the guilt the counselor faced of being so close but not reaching out to the client before it was too late.

Humsafar’s effort to bring all these roles of people together is commendable and we all feel that such a movie will not only make a huge difference in counselors, health workers and in their approach in dealing with our clients with humanity but also bring about a sea-change in the general populations attitude towards a sex worker, a transgender or a MSM client. All the characters depicted in the film makes one realize that anyone can get infected –a sex worker , MSM , a sweeper or a person working in an MNC. If this point comes across to the general population, anyone into risk behaviour would be less complacent. We hope this movie will be screened to all healthworkers, doctors, counselors and the general population. An incredible movie much needed today.

Thank-you Humsafar for bringing out such a wonderful and strong movie with a message for all.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Comment by a viewer

Comment posted by Abhijit, a viewer:

I got an opportunity to be part of screening of the film “68 Pages”

It is a unique experience revealing true life picture of the HIV epidemic. The story captures the life of five different individuals who are HIV positive and presents the trauma of their lives and also the trauma faced by one woman who is trying to make difference in their lives. It was an eye opener since I have interacted with HIV positive people very closely. The film creates a perfect balance between drama and light scenes that ensures audience’s attachment with the characters and you become more concerned about their lives.

Some may feel that its not commercial cinema but I would rate it as an intelligent commercial cinema. I would be bothered about the success of this movie since it has immense capacity to make valuable difference in lives of general population and professionals.

A melodies song of the movie (Nikle the akele ab sang kitne paao hai) acts as an anchor and takes you on a journey of happiness, concerns, worries and the decisions that each character made from starting to end. This movie touches several aspects like complications in relationships as they are not open, unspoken and hidden human bonding, importance of psychosocial support and positive living.

Sridhar and Vivek as story writers have carefully developed the graph for each character. The performances of the actors were quite convincing and special kudos to Jayati Bhatia for bringing inner most feelings of a prostiture along with cross Dresser (Uday), counselor (Mauli Gangurly), and the gay couple (Joy and Sherrin ) The dialogues were meaningful. Especially when the cross dresser tells the Counselor “Pyar to sabko mangta hai naa” or the prostitute expresses her desire “Doctor to nahi banaaongi, usey to main aap jaisa banaungi!”. The film does not stereotype the gay couple or make mockery of the cross dresser. The roles are devised close the real life individuals.

The movie not only creates an awareness about the trauma of HIV postive people also gives hope to fight with the disease and lead a normal life.

In today’s world with so much stress and tension the film talks about each one of us having a “worry tree” like Mansi’s Diary and her 68 Pages

Friday, September 7, 2007

Director's Note

Making this film has been a cathartic process and also a realization of one’s own shortcomings.

We are all so caught up in the whirligig of our careers, relationships and life in general that we have forgotten to pause and look at the person next to us - at an airport or café or on the streets – or for that matter even paused to see ourselves. A line in this film’s song sums it up tragically – ‘Everyone is so distant nowadays; one’s own shadow seems a stranger’.

So it’s no surprise that we hardly know or care about those who are stigmatised and marginalized - a transsexual, a commercial sex worker or just a street sweeper outside our house. We know nothing about them, apart from stereotypical notions.

We have tried, in this film, to give a voice to some of the people ignored by the society or misunderstood by us around. We felt it was perhaps time to listen to them, peep into their world of tears and trauma and discover their happiness and hopes.

This film is certainly made with a purpose – of bringing some of the stories that we have not cared to stop by and look, into focus. It is not a bugle call for action, but just a soft reminder to pause and reflect and make an effort to understand.

Maybe we can all wipe a tear, hold a hand… or maybe write the next 68 Pages.

~ Sridhar Rangayan, 2007


Director: Sridhar Rangayan

Sridhar Rangayan has consistently combined entertainment with social issues to make sensible cinema, which has brought him international acclaim. His debut short Gulabi Aaina (The Pink Mirror) about Indian drag queens was banned in India, but became a huge festival success, winning several awards. His feature ‘Yours Emotionally!’ pushed the boundaries even further by being one of the few films to ‘give a clear and concise picture of gay Indian life with great emotion and honesty’ (Amos Lassen on Amazon). His recent film ‘68Pages’ is a searing portrayal of five different people who are stigmatised and discriminated by society.

Filmography: Gulabi Aaina (2003), Chakkad Bakkad Bumbe Bo (2004)
Yours Emotionally! (2006), 68 Pages (2007)

Sridhar Rangayan's wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sridhar_Rangayan
Company url: http://www.solarispictures.com/

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Some pics from 68 Pages





Sex, truth and videotape

Sex, truth and videotape
- Georgina Maddox

Two boys meet, date, fall in love (and lust) and then, there is the all-important shot where one of the lovers reaches for the rubber. The underlying public service message, of having safe sex, cannot be missed. Almost every queer film that has made it to a multiplex or film festival, not only gets its funding but a good rating at the marquee, when HIV is the agenda. While this reinforces the link between queer and HIV/ AIDS, it seems to be the need of the hour.

From Onir’s sleeper hit My Brother Nikhil to Ashish Sawhny’s Happy Hookers and most recently 68 Pages, a film by Shridhar Rangayan (his Gulabi Aaina also had the protagonist deal with HIV), the message seems to be the same.

Ashok Row Kavi, founder of the Humsafar Trust, believes it to be a complex situation. “Men who have sex with men (MSM) and Trans-genders (TG) are most vulnerable, ” he says.

Vickram, of Gay Bombay, says cinema is an influential tool. “Condom should be shown in any gay sex scene in films,” he says. “At the risk of stereotyping, its okay to propagate HIV awareness .”

A telling scene is in Sawhny’s Happy Hookers, where a young gay sex worker talks about pleasing his client without a condom. The 22-year-old worker has only seen HIV campaigns for heterosexual couples and believes he’s not at risk.

Kavi says that several factors pressure MSM into unsafe sex. Gay married men operate underground, cross-dressers are open to stigma, some sex workers under caste pressure are criminalised and stigmatised.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Public Voices

(Audience reactions from the couple of previews held recently)

“The film is a sensitive and touching portrayal of marginalized communities.”
~ Dr. Rajeev Jerajani, psychiatrist

“I screen hundreds of films in this preview theatre but hardly watch them. Today, I just started watching and saw the entire film and had tears in my eyes.”
~ Projectionist, Star preview theatre, Mumbai

“Your film is a slap on the face of society.”
~ Gitanjali Dhulekar, a viewer

“Good Job…Good Performances”
~ Bindu Madhav Khire, Samapathik Trust, Pune

“Excellent Performances”
~ Sujal, a viewer

“Good Potential for mainstream”
~ Sanjay Thakur, a viewer

“Outstanding”
~ Kevin Menezes, a viewer

“I had actually come to attend another function at this venue but I did not leave the auditorium when I started seeing this film even though I realized my mistake. The film says a lot about HIV positive people.”
~ a viewer

“Never realized that people like Umrao exist in society. Umrao’s character is amazing.”
~ Avinash Mehto, Head of Avi Creations, an edit set-up

“The film was so compelling that I had to come for the second screening too”
~ Abhijit Aher, a viewer

“This film has inspired me and I want to become a counselor.”
~ Umang Sheth, a viewer

“For the first time, there’s a film that recognizes the efforts of counselors.”
~ Kalpita Patil-Lanjekar, a counselor

“In one stroke, you have made counselors more important than doctors and destroyed the myth that only doctors can help”
~ Dr. Maninder Setia, Ph.D. student at McGill University, Montreal

“The discrimination shown in the film is so real. We have seen it all and lived it all.”
~ Dr. Hemangi Jerajani, Head of the Department, Skin and Dermatology, LTMG Hospital, Mumbai

“A sensitive portrayal of a real-life counselor and a true profile of a TISS student.”
~ Brinelle D’Souza, professor, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai

“Extremely touching and sensitive, the film deals with issues of HIV positive people in a real manner.”
~ Rita Sonawat, Head of the Department, Human Development, SNDT University, Mumbai

“I am grateful to Rita m’am for bringing me along to watch this film. It should be made mandatory viewing for all youth in the country.”
~ a student of SNDT University

“There are many times when I have gone home from work and cried for the pain of my counselees. And this film reflects my feelings.”
~ Rajashree, a counselor

“V. Good ! an eye opener ! Good educational film”
~ Kanchan Karani, a viewer

“The film is an eye-opener to the kind of good work being done with HIV positive people.”
~ Rekha Shah, a viewer

“Four years of my life flashed in front of my eyes. I thought I was reliving my life at Humsafar once again.”
~ Vrushali Deshmukh, ex-counseling head at The Humsafar Trust, Mumbai, the woman on whose experiences the film is based