I am back to Mumbai after inaugurating the Kolkatta Annual LGBT film festival( 12th to 14th June 2009). I am overwhelmed by the experience of the last few days. The city and the people are just so warm and amazing and of course the food rocks.
When I decided to come for the LGBT film festival some people told me “you are very brave”. My answer was “I am not going to Afghanistan.(Not that that is something that would have stopped me either!), and why should I be insecure about going to a film festival that celebrates good cinema and love.
The film festival venue was Max Muller Bhavan. A venue that is special for me. I started my journey as a film maker way back in 1990 at this same place. It felt so good to once again see familiar faces. Sit in the same lawn and sip hot coffee over cinema. The charm is the same, the people as loving.
Later at the auditorium I was pleasantly surprised to see it packed. There were people sitting on the stairs and waiting outside to be allowed in. The organisers were already thinking of multiple venues for the next year. I watched young men sitting holding hands, women leaning against each other smiling and not worried about what the world would say. All they desire is the right to love without fear.
That is what brings me to our short film OMAR. Omar is again a film based on real life stories that we got from the research material Vikram Doctor sent us. Its a film that shows how the police misuses their power and blackmails Gay men by using article 377.
Article 377 , a law by which homosexuality is criminalised in India. When I look around myself I see so much hatred. I see divide because of religion, caste, class, colour and gender. And I wonder why anyone should have a problem with two adults expressing their love. After all love is a positive energy, and it does not harm anyone. On the lighter note. Neither do we need to panic about what will happen to procreation and the future of the universe. After all looking at the way the world is going we could do with some population control if we have to save the world.
OMAR is a film about unheard voices. Voices that society refuses to acknowledges. Omar is about the right to love. It’s about the right to freedom and right to self respect.