Yours Emotionally! had its first Indian outing recently, screening to a packed hall at The Humsafar Trust, a male sexual health agency in Mumbai. More than 100 gay and transgender persons watched the film and participated enthusiastically in the ensuing Q&A session with the director Sridhar Rangayan and lead actors Premjit and Ikhlaq Khan. The screening was special because many members of the audience had participated in the film (in the party and Kamasutra scenes) and for them it was a delight to see a film which they had worked in.
While Rangayan applauded the courage of these queer people who so fearlessly came out to be part of the film for the very first time in Indian cinema history. "It is indeed very brave of you all and I am completely indebted to your participation without which this film wouldn't have been what it is", said Rangayan.
One of the audience member asked, "Why doesn't anyone in the film manage to live happily with the person they love" to which another person retorted, "Have you been able to?" amidst giggles and laughter. Rangayan explained that he tried to mirror reality and usually in most of the real circumstances there are different situations and events that become roadblocks to love; especialy for gay men who have to battle the society to live out their identity and consummate their love.
"How was it doing all those hot scenes?" the audience asked the panel. Premjit mentioned that, "it was all very technical actually with all those lights and crew members!" to which someone quipped, "it hardly looked technical!". Iklhaq Khan, who is a well-known actor in mainstream television and films and for whom accepting to play the role of an elderly gay was a big challenge, said "The director made us comfortable with the situations and sensitized us to the emotional content of the scenes, esp the bedroom scenes and particularly the kiss with Anna which is the high point of the film. None of us found anything crass or vulgar and everything is depicted so sensitively and beautifully".
"Was there any problems during the shooting, considering it is such a bold film?". Rangayan mentioned that they had sought permission to shoot in the streets and the prince of the palace where most of the film was shot was very supportive. Incidentally the prince is none other than Manavendra Singh Gohil who is one of the first person from the Indian royalty to come out openly as a gay person.
"It was amazing that so many gay men and TGs particiapted that too in public places like the riverside and temples. Did no one object or make fun of?". Rangayan said, " What was amazing about the queer people from Lakshya (Baroda) who particiapted in those scenes was that they themselves were utterly comfortable about their sexuality. So, that confidence showed, giving no room for anyone to poke fun at them... and even if they did they cared two hoots about it. It was amazingly empowering"
Many people wanted to know when the film will be released so that it can be seen by a wider audience, "It is a trendsetter... Such films need to be seen. For the first time an Indian film has portrayed the gay community with so much honesty and motionality". Rangayan mentioned that the film will be distributed by Waterbearer Films for the home DVD market but also hoped that more distributors come forward to release it in theaters, maybe even in India.
The evening conclued amidst much mingling and discussions over samosas, dhoklas and tea. Later there was even a performance by the well known dancer Simran (who also played a small role in the film).