Wednesday, September 23

India’s First Gay Film to be Screened at Kashish 2020

Posted by on July 25th, 2020

‘Badnam Basti’, India’s first gay film that was released in 1971 only to be lost to obscurity for around five decades, before it was found in a Berlin archive, will be scerened at KASHISH 2020.

Badnam Basti - India's First Gay Film
A Still from Badnam Basti – India’s First Gay Film

Badnam Basti was directed by Prem Kapoor  and centers on a love triangle between two men and one woman on the margins of society.

Speaking about how the festival managed to get Badnam Basti, festival director Sridhar Rangayan says, “It all started off with an email by Lyle Pearson, a journalist who has been attending KASHISH every year, traveling all the way from the USA. He connected us to studio Arsenal in Germany who had recently discovered a copy of the film and restored it digitally. While we got the copy from Arsenal, we had a challenge tracking down Hari Om Kapoor, the son of the director to get permission to screen. When he gave us the permission, our joy knew no bounds, and we are delighted to present this unique film to the world through the KASHISH platform.

Badnam Basti will screen on Wednesday, July 29, 2020. 

Apart from Badnam Basti, the festival is screening three narrative features Coffee Café by Arunkumar Senthil (Tamil), Jonaki Purua by Prakash Deka (Assamese) and the closing film Hum Bhi Akele, Tum Bhi Akele… by Harish Vyas (Hindi). There are also two brilliant documentaries Outcast by Anita Singh (English, Hindi) and In Fact … (Teen Satyi) by Debalina Majumder (Bengali). Some of the programs the Indian LGBTQIA+ films are screening are Moving Forward Together (on July 24th ), Indian Masala Mix I (July 25th), Indian Masala Mix II (July 26th) and Indian Narrative Shorts Competition (July 28th).

“Who says the Indian LGBTQIA+ film movement is nascent?! Agreed there are not too many commercial releases, but there are plenty of independent documentaries and short films being made every year and we are screening 30 of them – the second largest in number from a country next to USA with 62 films playing at our festival. These Indian LGBTQIA+ films offers a diversity of stories covering the entire LGBTQIA+ spectrum, this year including stories about bisexuals, drag queens, transmen and transwomen, genderqueer, asexual, etc. The narratives also span a range of genres from romances to comedies to dramas, and also include same-sex relationships, as well as relationships with families and society. The narratives also span urban and rural stories. It is indeed exhilarating to be able to present such a rich and diverse program of Indian films, and we are thankful to each one of the filmmakers for making these gems. We sincerely hope to reach them out to world audiences through the festival”, said Rangayan. 

The online edition of 11th KASHISH Mumbai International Film Festival was inaugurated on July 22 and is on till July 29, 2020. It will screen 157 films from 47 countries, including Badnam Basti and 29 other Indian films.

Register for KASHISH 2020 at

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