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Telegraph Kolkata July 5, 2008

Posted by humsafar in 68 pages, counsellor, counselor, film on HIV/AIDS, gay film transsexual film HIV?AIDS film 68 pages film, HIV/AIDS, humsafar trust, Humsafar Trust Gay India TG Transgender MSM Indian-gay,, sridhar rangayan.
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Telegraph Kolkata
Telegraph Kolkata
Queer crash
westside view

Telegraph, Kolkata, July 1 2008

 
 

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)

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Time Out Mumbai July 5, 2008

Posted by humsafar in 68 pages, counsellor, gay film transsexual film HIV?AIDS film 68 pages film, HIV/AIDS, Humsafar Trust Gay India TG Transgender MSM Indian-gay,.
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Umrao

Umrao

 

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.

Public Voices September 24, 2007

Posted by humsafar in 68 pages, Brinelle D’Souza, counsellor, gay couple, indian gay, Indian transsexual, SNDT University, transsexual.
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(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

Comment by a viewer September 15, 2007

Posted by humsafar in 68 pages, abhijit, counsellor, HIV/AIDS, song.
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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

Outline & Synopsis August 16, 2007

Posted by humsafar in counsellor, counselor, gay couple, HIV/AIDS, humsafar trust, indian gay, Indian transsexual, sridhar rangayan, transsexual.
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OUTLINE

A searingly honest film about five lives marked by pain and bound by hope – in 68 Pages of a counselor’s diary. A transsexual bar dancer, a prostitute, a gay couple – characters often ignored by Bollywood take center stage to tell their stories of pain and trauma, of happiness and hope, of stories never dealt with sensitively.

SYNOPSIS

A counselor’s ethics demand that she maintain confidentiality, be objective and not get emotional. But is it possible for a sensitive young woman like Mansi to remain unaffected? Her true feelings are reflected in the pages of her diary, in 68 Pages.

Through these pages we see the stories of Paayal, a sex worker; Nishit, an ID user; Kiran, a gay man and Umrao, a transsexual bar dancer – stories of being marginalized and discriminated before and after becoming HIV+. These stories have the capacity to touch, heal, change lives and hopefully bring about a better understanding of their fight to live with dignity.

The film is a tribute to the human spirit of optimism and survival.