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Celina Jaitley flags off ‘Kashish’ in India

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Our country has truly come of age. Initially, homosexuality was a banned subject. Homosexuals and transgenders were looked down upon. However, times are changing as the first gay film festival is being held in India. Bollywood actress Celina Jaitley, who is also a gay rights activist, released the trailer of the festival in Mumbai, on Thursday, April 16th 2010. The festival will have screenings of films from across the world. It has received 110 entries from more than 25 countries.

The fest is titled Kashish, which means 'attraction or allurement" and will commence on the 22nd of April. It will be a four-day event, held at two venues in Mumbai - Alliance Francaise, Marine Lines and PVR Cinemas in Juhu. It is the first time that a 'queer" film fest will be held at multiplexes. 'Queer" is the term given to the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) community and their activities. Apart from film screenings, the festival will also have panel discussions, music video launches, discussions with film makers and photo-exhibition. It will highlight the issues that the people face, their problems, struggles etc. It will show how they are ostracized by society.

Celina Jaitley, who has been actively involved in working for their welfare, will also host the show. It has countries like Argentina, Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Indonesia, New Zealand, Portugal, Singapore, South Africa, Spain participating. Kashish will have renowned personalities from films, art, fashion, and media as the jury. After the Act 377 was voided last year, this is another conquest as far as homosexuality in India is concerned. Things are finally looking up for the LGBT population, though we still have a long way to go!

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