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Gay drama gets child-friendly movie rating in India

Written by gaytourism

A still from the movie Evening Shadows (Photo: Solaris Pictures)

The makers of a gay-themed movie are today celebrating after their film received a U/A rating in their home country of India.

Evening Shadows centers on a young man in Southern India coming out to his mum.

It has received a U/A rating from the CBFC film board in Mumbai. This means parental guidance advised for anyone under 12. In reality, that means parents can take their children to see it, if they choose to do so.

‘Myself and my team are so thrilled with this,’ said Sridhar Rangayan, director of Evening Shadows, in a press statement.

‘It opens new doors for us. It offers the film a chance to reach out to a larger mainstream audience through a theatrical release and a satellite release. Our main aim when we made the film was not only to reach out to the LGBTQ community, but also mainly to parents and families in small towns. This U/A certification is a boon for the film.’

Censors commend Evening Shadows

He says the censor board members who watched Evening Shadows felt it depicted the dilemmas of the mother with empathy. They also said the film doesn’t resort to using gay stereotypes.

Failing to secure mainstream Bollywood money, Rangayan turned to crowdfunding for the bulk of the budget. The movie will have its world premiere in Australia on the 25 February, as part of Sydney Mardi Gras. A European premiere takes place at the Roze Fildagen film festival in Amsterdam on 10 March.

At the moment, it has not secured a theatrical release in India but Rangayan hopes its film rating will help its chances.

‘We are trying and hoping for a mainstream theatrical release in India because that is the best way for the film to reach mass audiences,’ he told GSN.

‘We are speaking to distributors right now, but the financial commitments needed for a theatrical release pose a huge challenge for an independent crowdfunded film.

‘However there is a good healthy buzz about the film and we are sure that will interest the distributors. We are really keen for the film to get a satellite distribution and this U/A certification can make it a possibility.’

Sridhar Rangayan: ‘They only asked us to dub one word’

Earlier films that Ranggayan has worked on – The Pink Mirror and Breaking Free – were released via Netflix.

‘It should not be a problem to release Evening Shadows on streaming platforms after its theatrical and satellite release.’

He said that the censor board requested only one small alteration.

‘The censor board cleared the film with no cuts, no beeps. They only asked us to dub one word “Hijra” with the word “Kinnar” because it will be more respectful to the transgender community. The word Hijra is used mostly as a slur by people and means a eunuch, whereas Kinnar denotes transgender person.’

The film features a same-sex romance, but no sex scene.

‘The dramatic plotline didn’t have any space for sex scene. We wanted to talk about love between two men in the film and its acceptance, but yes it is clearly mentioned that the two men are in a sexual relationship.’

He says that he has been warmed by how much support the film has received, with little negative reaction.

‘Our approach to the issues in the film has been gentle and sensitive. We want to start conversations, not be counter-reactive. A lot of hope is pinned on this film by the LGBTQ community and we hope we can make their dreams come true.’

You can watch a trailer for the film below.

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LGBTI campaigners push for decriminalization of gay sex

Gay sexual activity is currently illegal in India for both men and women under Section 377 of its penal code. The law dates back to 1861, when the country was under British rule. It broadly criminalized any ‘carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal.’ Those found guilty face up to ten years in prison.

Campaigners were jubilant when the High Court of Delhi repealed the law with regard to consenting adults in 2009. However, jubilation turned to dismay when two members of the Supreme Court of India overturned that judgment in 2013.

The country’s Supreme Court is currently reviewing that decision, with a ruling due at some point in the next few months.

India has a population of 1.3 billion, and an estimated LGBT population of 78million.

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