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A blog to discuss issues related to MSM and TG community in India
!!!EXCITING NEWS !!!
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.
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|
DVDs of the film can now be bought or ordered from the following organizations:
The Humsafar Trust
3rd Floor, BMC Transit Building,
Nehru Road, Vakola,
Mumbai 400050, INDIA
phone: +91.22. 26673800
Magic Lantern Foundation
J-1881, Chittaranjan Park, Basement,
New Delhi – 110019, INDIA
Kriti Film Club
S-35, Tara Apartments,
Alaknanda, New Delhi 110019, INDIA
Ph: 011-26477845/ 26213088
Solidarity and Action Against The HIV Infection in India
229 Kalitala Main Road, Purbachal (North)
Calcutta 700 078, West Bengal, INDIA
91 33 2334 7329
For more information and ordering online please check out www.humsafar.org/68pages/dvd.htm
We welcome partner agencies in other cities who can stock DVDs of the film and help in local sales.
Telegraph, Kolkata, July 1 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.
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.
We have a new WEBSITE.
Check out Trailers, Song, Audience Reactions and a lot more!
Go on, browse around and let us hear your feedback.
Cheers and stay tuned.
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
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.
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!!!!!!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Programme Officer, FPA India, Aastha Project
The film is wonderful, which will touch the heart of everyone. It is a very powerful film.
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.”
“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
Aashish A Sabale | Advocacy Officer, SAI
(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
~ Sujal, a viewer
“Good Potential for mainstream”
~ Sanjay Thakur, a viewer
~ 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
Mansi is a counselor. Her ethics demand that she maintain confidentiality, be objective and not get emotional. But is it possible for a sensitive young woman to remain unaffected by the suffering she witnesses around her?Mansi’s true feelings are reflected in the pages of her diary where she writes about those whom she cannot leave behind in the counselling room. It is through these pages that we see the stories of Paayal, a sex worker; Nishit, an ID user; Kiran, a gay man and Umrao, a transsexual bar dancer – and their issues of being part of marginalized communities before and after becoming HIV positive.Their stories have the capacity to touch, heal and change lives…lives of those who do not lose hope.68 Pages is inspired by reflections of true life incidents.The film is a tribute to the human spirit of optimism and survival.
More info at http://www.68pages.blogspot.com