The Chennai Rainbow Film Festival organised by Chennai Dost, seems to be picking up pace with every passing year, and this year seems to be a culmination of all the hard work from the previous editions. The festival will not only host film screenings but will also host talks, stage dances and music concerts as well — all to bring to light the issues that the LGBTQI community faces.
Vikranth Prasanna, one of the organisers, shares with us that there will be several performers who support the cause at the event, including Adam Greig and Alisha Thomas’ music performances, a screening of 23C, a film by Yaggna Valiyakan and belly dancing routine by Victor Alex and troupe. He goes on to share, “There will also be a fashion show by Jules Idi Amin, choreographed by Sneha Nair, a drag show and a stand-up comedy routine as well. The purpose of this festival is to provide a platform for filmmakers with LGBT-themed films. And we’d like to bring issues concerning the community to the fore so people can understand us better.”
He adds, “We need to address the amount of violence as also the ridicule happening against the community. Media, by which, I mean movies like Kaththi Sandai, depict trans people in bad light and we hope that they are exposed to our films, so that they can change their treatment.”
One of the movies being showcased, 23C, an LGBT story, makes you sit up and think. Director Yaggna Valkiyan says, “I read about the suicide of a young boy in 2014, and was inspired to make the short film. Suicide rates are very high among the LGBT community, and I wanted to address the reasons why the numbers are only increasing.” Although he said he couldn’t divulge much about the story, he shares that it is about a gay boy who falls for a heterosexual boy in love with a girl. Yaggna also says that the festival will be instrumental in bringing queer discussions to the mainstream. “It will be a different experience for Tamil people who have only been exposed to the mainstream that is only business fuelled, and bring attention to topics that matter.”
For professional dancer Victor Alex, this will be the second performance at the festival. He describes his act to be a tribal fusion belly dancing routine and an Indo-Egyptian dance with his student. They will be dressed in all black to express their sadness for the violence committed against the gay world and trans community. He tells us about the festival and his act, “I feel like it’s a great platform for people to know what LGBT people go through in life and acknowledge it. Even being a belly dancer, I want to use my art as a weapon to break stereotypes attached to male dancers. Dance is an art with no gender or sexuality and shouldn’t be confined to them.”