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68 Pages DVDs released on Amazon September 30, 2008

Posted by humsafar in 68 pages, 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, Uncategorized.
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Buy DVDs of film 68 Pages on Amazon

Buy DVDs of film 68 Pages on Amazon

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.

68 Pages storms small town in Karnataka September 30, 2008

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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

Indian Express Delhi July 5, 2008

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 Capital witnesses Pride walk, but 68 Pages of anguish gets no hearing

– by Paromita Chakrobarty

Posted online: Friday , July 04, 2008 at 11:54:39
Updated: Friday , July 04, 2008 at 11:54:39

New Delhi, July 3 Director Sridhar Rangayan’s award-winning movie on HIV-affected gays finds no hall for screening

On June 29, as Delhi’s saw its first Rainbow Pride March, Sridhar Rangayan was busy trying to organise shows for his latest film, 68 Pages.

Like his previous two films, 68 Pages deals with issues close to Rangayan’s heart — lives of MSMs (men who have sex with men) who have been infected with HIV.

“But for all the hullabaloo about increased awareness about gays, educated urban heterosexuals are still scared to show empathy. There is no aggressive homophobia, but no support either,” shrugs the 45-year-old human rights activist.

Rangayan has reasons to believe so.

His film, which won the Silver Remi at the Houston World Fest earlier this year, is yet to be released in India as no mainstream distributor has come forward to screen it.

“When I made the film, I tried my best to stick to the narrative mode, so the audience could connect with it even if the subject was unfamiliar. But when I met the distributors, I realised it did not matter. They all refused to screen it on ground that a film on homosexuality which talks about AIDS, is not going to bring them any audience,” he says.

In Delhi alone, Rangayan had got in touch with all major multiplex owners, but the experience, he says, has left him rather sceptical.

“The PVR authorities did not respond for the longest time. Finally, when I sent them a rather curt mail, they replied that it did not quite fit even their corporate social responsibility profile.”

68 Pages deals with the lives of five HIV positive individuals — a trans-sexual bar dancer, a gay couple, a sex worker and a drug user — each grappling to come to terms with their own lives.

The story is a narrative from the personal diary of a counsellor who worked with them.

But instead of a bleak, oblique narrative, Rangayan has focussed on the idea of hope and redemption.

He drew his inspiration from the first woman counsellor who worked at his NGO, Humsafar Trust, in Mumbai, one of India’s first organisations to work with sexual minorities. Humsafar Trust is also the co-producer of the film.

The IIT Mumbai alumnus, who has worked with directors like Kalpana Lajmi, Sai Paranjape among others, is now distributing the film via the NGO route.

Humsafar Trust and their associates have come forward to hold a 12-city promotion tour, which includes Mumbai, Baroda, Nagpur, Indore, Chennai, Kolkata and Bangalore.

“We are going to show at auditoriums and hold discussion sessions afterwards, so there is a dialogue. That’s the only way to clear misconceptions,” he says.

In Delhi, Rangayan has found support in Gargi Sen’s Magic Lantern Foundation, an NGO which distributes non-commercial films.

A screening will be held on July 10 at the India International Centre. Naz Foundation, an NGO as well as Kriti, a city-based film club, too are organising screening. Rangayan is also planning to bring out DVDs of the movie.

All these, the director, says, are a small step towards their ultimate goal.

“It’s not just Article 377 which needs amendment. There’s still a long way to go before people’s mindset about alternative sexuality changes,” he says.

Telegraph Kolkata July 5, 2008

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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)

68 pages – Website May 2, 2008

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We have a new WEBSITE.
http://www.humsafar.org/68pages.htm
Check out Trailers, Song, Audience Reactions and a lot more!

Go on, browse around and let us hear your feedback.
Cheers and stay tuned.

 

Global Themes with an Indian Outlook – Future of Indian Cinema December 26, 2007

Posted by humsafar in global themes, IFFK, Indian cinema, Jabbar Patel, Naseeruddin Shah, P.T.Kunjumohammed, queer films, sridhar rangayan.
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International Film Festival of Kerala 2007
Sridhar Rangayan with Naseeruddin Shah & Dr.Jabbar Patel

Global Themes with an Indian Outlook – Future of Indian Cinema
Report: Roseliz Francis

‘Contemporary Indian Cinema – Challenges and Prospects’ was the theme of the second edition of the Open Forum of the 12-IFFK. the panelists were veteran Indian actor Naseeruddin Shah, noted Filmmakers Jabbar Patel, P.T.Kunjumohammed and Sridhar Rangayan, and the moderator was Unnikrishnan B.

Naseeruddin Shah felt that the conundrum of what exactly is ‘Indian’ was the real bone of contention. He stated that contemporary Indian cinema was synonymous with Bollywood and this was not a positive trend. While the films from the other regions of India were isolated he predicted that the fascination with these clichéd ‘song and dance sequences’ would soon die out.

Noted filmmaker Jabbar Patel opined that it was the content of Indian cinema accessible to the world that should be focused on. he added it was the onus of the upcoming filmmakers to create meaningful cinema as against mainstream Bollywood cinema. he said that ‘Middle Cinema’ will continue the new wave generated by parallel cinema earlier on. Parallel cinema lacked genres while gaining expertise on specific themes. Middle cinema will transcend these limitations.

Sridhar Rangayan gave an overview on the struggles of ‘underground’/’queer’ film makers to deal with contemporary themes. Though the digital trends were a boon, he said production and distribution expenses and censorship have curtailed the wings of the new age Indian film makers.

P.T.Kunjumuhammed said how it is an inferior mindset that has caused many a regional film not reaching a global audience.

Source: Official Bulletin for IFFK 2007, Dec 10.

Cinema of / at the Margins December 26, 2007

Posted by humsafar in Cinema of / at the Margins, economics, Horace Ove, Miguel Littin, P.T.Kunjumohammed, Politics, race, religion, sexuality, sridhar rangayan.
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International Film Festival of Kerala 2007

Sridhar Rangayan with Chilean filmmaker Miguel Littin

It’s time to state propositions to break the infernal walls that marginalize
Report: Roseliz Francis

Politics, race, religion, economics, sexuality and regional differences; it was a kaleidoscope of images on marginalization that came from the panel of the first seminar of the 12th IFFK held at Hotel Horizon on ‘Cinema of / at the Margins’. The illustrious panel consisted of Chilean filmmaker Miguel Littin, UK based filmmaker Horace Ove, Indian filmmakers P.T.Kunjumohammed and Sridhar Rangayan and film critic V.C.Harris.

An animated debate to define ‘who’ or ‘what’ is marginalized created a vivacious ambience. Miguel Littin said it was necessary to locate the center to be able to define the margins. Speaking of Latin American Cinema he said that there were several constraints on independent and woman filmmakers. he spoke about the dynamics of economics in cinema from third world countries. the fact that only six to seven films were produced in a country like Chile was attributed to the limited access to technology and the constraints in raising funds to produce and distribute films, which are also effected by the political resolutions of a state. He highlighted that it was the access to resources like capital and technology that sought immediate attention. he said that the cultural ambassadors of a country should facilitate an open market for cinema sans censorship. he envisioned a platform where the Latin American filmmakers shared a platform with Italian, French and Third world counterparts to emancipate the marginalized. He said it was “time to state propositions to break the infernal walls that marginalize”.

Sridhar Rangayan, director of ’68 Pages’, voiced the subjugation of the ‘Queer’ filmmakers, who are themselves marginalized. He said that it was not the number, but the content of films that mattered. Though India produced over 1000 films a year, they fail to give a voice to the marginalized. He was talking of the homosexuals and transsexuals in particular. He added that the language of cinema today has to adhere to certain stereotypes to appeal to the masses. This adherence led to these oppressive classes being doubly stigmatized. He added that transgender characters were carved out in films only for dramatic conveniences and not for emancipating them. He criticized popular cinema like ‘Kal Ho Na Ho’ for ridiculing homosexuality but was highly appreciative of the Malayalam movie ‘Sancharam’, ‘My Brother Nikhil’ and ‘Fire’ for breaking conventions in portraying such issues. His was a clarion call for filmmakers to “make cinema rooted in reality and to make the marginalized more visible”.

P.T.Kunjumohammed said it was his brief stint in Dubai in the early 70s that inspired him to defend his culture through his films as a defiance of the then existing European standards in cinema. In his ‘Pardesi’ he has tried to inculcate the singular voices of many who are marginalized.

Horace Ove, an independent filmmaker based in UK, opined that making independent films is not easy. All those who are ready to experiment should collaborate to form an autonomous film movement which could depict the political and social issues of the marginalized world over.

Film critic Dr.V.C.Harris spoke of marginalization at various levels. he spoke of the dominance of Hollywood films at the universal level; Bollywood being synonymous with Indian Cinema where regional cinema is marginalized and within regional films the upper hand that popular films have over parallel cinema. he also echoed Littin when he expressed “the need to establish a center to identify the margins”.

A counter statement from a participant that margins no longer existed in cinema today took the discussion to the next level. However, all the panelists held that though anybody can make films today, the crux of the predicament lies in the reach of these films to a global audience.

Source: Official Bulletin of IFFK 2007, Dec.10

Film India Worldwide Nov 2007-Jan 2008 December 22, 2007

Posted by humsafar in Film India Worldwide, Gulabi Aaina, Indian festival films, Solaris Pictures, sridhar rangayan, Uma Da Cunha, Yours Emotionally.
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We are pleased and honoured to be part of the exclusive selection of films collated by the magazine Film India Worldwide in their section Festival Touchstone (page 21)

Text Excerpt :
68 Pages
Sridhar Rangayan
Selected for the 2007 Kerala festival, this digital film depicts individual stories of pain recorded in HIV/AIDS counsellor Mansi’s diary. After a broken love affair, the career-minded Mansi joins a community health centre where her clients include gay and trans-gendered men. She also works alongside sex workers and IDU users at a leading psychiatrist’s clinic and the local municipal hospital. Based on reflections of true-life incidents and characters, the film’s concept was born within these communities with the help of NGOs working with them.
Mansi’s recorded stories deal with five HIV positive persons from different high risk groups, gay, transgender, sex worker and drug user, whose lives change dramatically when they learn of their status. the 90-minute film’s cast includes Mouli Ganguly, Joy Sengupta, Zafar Karachiwala, Jayati Bhatia, Uday Sonawane and Abhay Kulkarni. Co-scripted by Vivek Anand and Sridhar Rangayan, its cinematography is by Shubransu Das and music by xen@bob – the fusing of two music groups Nexus and Band of Boys.
The film is produced by The Humsafar Trust, (since 1994 this male sexual health agency has provided diagnostic, counselling and treatment facilities to people from the gay and transgender communities) in association with Solaris Pictures. Director Rangayan, a graduate of IIT-Mumbai, has directed / scripted award winning films, among them the notable Gulabi Aaina, a film on Indian transsexuals and Yours Emotionally! a queer journey through India. Managing to combine advocacy and entertainment in his films, Rangayan runs Solaris Pictures in partnership with Saagar Gupta.

Not just another AIDS movie: Maker of Gulabi Aaina ready with 68 Pages October 24, 2007

Posted by humsafar in counselor, Gulabi Aaina, HIV Positive, humsafar trust, indian express 68 pages, Indian film, Jaago, Mira Nair, MSM, NACO, Piyush Roy, sridhar rangayan, vivek anand, Vrushali Deshmukh.
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By : Piyush Roy, Sunday , October 07, 2007
Indian Express

Mira Nair’s AIDS JAAGO—a combination of four short films on AIDS-related cases from India also showcasing directors like Santosh Sivan, Vishal Bharadwaj, Farhan Akhtar—may have been courting news for its premiere at the recently concluded Toronto Film Festival, closer home, another director Sridhar Rangayan’s third film, 68 Pages, is doing the same—albeit quietly.
His film weaves together five empathetic Mumbai-based short stories revolving around AIDS victims from some of the marginalised sections of society like a sex worker, a transsexual bar dancer and a gay couple. The common thread is hope.

Rangayan, who had earlier made two films revolving around the Indian homosexual community including the critically acclaimed Gulabi Aaina (India’s first film on drag queens that made it to the official selection of over 30 international film festivals) says: “Though we have been making proposals to various bodies for the last two years for an advocacy film on the issue of AIDS amongst MSMs (men having sex with men/ homosexuals) and transgenders it didn’t progress beyond the concept note till a UK agency, DFID, chipped in early this year to produce it in association with the Humsafar Trust.”

Vivek Anand, executive producer and co-writer of 68 Pages—he is also CEO of Humsafar Trust—says: “We made it as a support to the National AIDS Control Programme Phase 3, which in its third and latest phase aims to focus on issues amongst homosexuals, transgenders, sex-workers and intravenous drug users, all of who find representation in the film.”

While three million people are estimated to be HIV positive in India today, according to the NSS 2005 survey, 7.5 per cent among MSMs, 8.5 per cent among sex-workers and 49 per cent among transgenders are reported to have tested positive, adds Anand.

68 Pages is based on real life experiences of Vrushali Deshmukh, a former counsellor with the Humsafar Trust. “She worked with us from 1999 to the fall of 2004 and handled over 6,000 cases involving MSMs and transgenders in Mumbai,” says Anand, adding, “And like her onscreen character Mansi, she too did go to the Columbia University to do her Masters in Public Health.”

Rangayan, who has for the first time opted for well-known faces from TV and theatre like Mouli Ganguly, Jayati Bhatia, Zafar Karachiwala and Joy Sengupta, says, “Known faces help in pushing an advocacy issue forward. We initially toyed with the idea of casting Smriti Irani or Mona Singh in the counsellor’s role because they are perceived as compassionate and strong characters, but then realised that their onscreen images of Tulsi and Jassi were too overbearing. So we zeroed in on Mouli Ganguly.”

Anand reveals that the entire cast and crew of 68 Pages worked at half their market prices for the film that was wrapped up in 11 days in Mumbai. “We made it at one per cent the budget of Salaam-e-Ishq and 10 perc ent of Bheja Fry,” says Rangayan.

Rangayan hopes the pre-release goodwill will contribute to him being third time lucky with the Indian Censor Board. Though internationally feted, both his previous films still await a censor certificate for an India screening. “We applied thrice with the board in Delhi for releasing my last film Yours Emotionally! But forget okaying it with a cut or two, they rejected it.”

Hopefully 68 Pages will have it better.

Director’s Note September 7, 2007

Posted by humsafar in 68 pages, humsafar trust, sridhar rangayan.
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Making this film has been a cathartic process and also a realization of one’s own shortcomings.

We are all so caught up in the whirligig of 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 café or on the streets – or for that matter even paused to see ourselves. A line in this film’s song sums it up tragically – ‘Everyone is so distant nowadays; one’s own shadow seems a stranger’.

So it’s no surprise that we hardly know or care about those who are stigmatised and marginalized – a transsexual, a commercial sex worker or just a street sweeper outside our house. We know nothing about them, apart from stereotypical notions.

We have tried, in this film, to give a voice to some of the people ignored by the society or misunderstood by us around. We felt it was perhaps time to listen to them, peep into their world of tears and trauma and discover their happiness and hopes.

This film is certainly made with a purpose – of bringing some of the stories that we have not cared to stop by and look, into focus. It is not a bugle call for action, but just a soft reminder to pause and reflect and make an effort to understand.

Maybe we can all wipe a tear, hold a hand… or maybe write the next 68 Pages.

~ Sridhar Rangayan, 2007

Director: Sridhar Rangayan

Sridhar Rangayan has consistently combined entertainment with social issues to make sensible cinema, which has brought him international acclaim. His debut short Gulabi Aaina (The Pink Mirror) about Indian drag queens was banned in India, but became a huge festival success, winning several awards. His feature ‘Yours Emotionally!’ pushed the boundaries even further by being one of the few films to ‘give a clear and concise picture of gay Indian life with great emotion and honesty’ (Amos Lassen on Amazon). His recent film ‘68Pages’ is a searing portrayal of five different people who are stigmatised and discriminated by society.

Filmography: Gulabi Aaina (2003), Chakkad Bakkad Bumbe Bo (2004)
Yours Emotionally! (2006), 68 Pages (2007)

Sridhar Rangayan’s wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sridhar_Rangayan
Company url: http://www.solarispictures.com/