During two years of my post grad. of attending film classes; watching and discussing sexual content in films with classmates and professors was a regular affair. I, no longer held any inhibitions seeing any explicit content. Was secretly proud of myself as I assumed that now I can view and discuss any kind of content objectively rather than getting uncomfortable about it.But guess was wrong.
Recently, I attended the 15th International Film Festival of Madurai for short films and documentary in an all girls’ convent college. Mostly the students were under 20s and were watching international films for the first time through the platform of a film festival. The very first film shown was a 3 min French short film that not only had homosexual content but also dabbled with the issue of who actually is the weaker sex? Guys or Girls?
The very first kiss in the film happened to be between two guys & generated vibes of uneasiness through the entire group of 100 girls along with their faculty and the Sister of the college who were also present for the screening. The hisses and sighs of the girls made me feel so awkward that I literally wished to disappear. In spite of grasping that what the film is trying to communicate in 3 minutes is far more than just sex; still was feeling wrong to watch it. In my head, I asserted: This is not a metro city. So it’s okay that the girls are reacting like this.
But actually this incident forced me to ponder what rajbir as an ‘individual’ feels about homosexuality? It made me realise that it’s the environment around us that creates an illusion of what’s correct and what’s not. How right I can be in passing a judgement based on my comfort level in the society? In the end; the only answer I had is that everyone has an equal right to expression.
Later when students were asked to share their views. Most of them mentioned this particular film and raised questions on why is homosexuality even shown in films? The teachers remarked, “what are our students going to learn watching such films? This is so against our society & culture. It’s an unnatural phenomenon.” The Sister spoke in the end and asked all the girls to introspect on why everyone did “aaaiiiyooo”? She said, “However we react is our own reflection of who we are. Please go beyond the matter. See what is it that really disturbs you? See who you are and decide for yourself what is right and wrong for ‘you’.” Instead of imposing any rigid opinions for or against homosexuality she encouraged everyone to have an open mind to witness society as it is without any prejudices.
And the very next day the Supreme Court verdict on section 377 comes! The co-incidence of these two events amused me on where does our so called modern, open and tolerant society exists? Just a day before felt that my perspective was widened by few words from a nun & then the next day I read SC criminalising homosexuality which is again a proof of imposing a dogma that’s based on fear.
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