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."