Kashish Pride Film Festival Kicks Off with Star-Studded Opening, Draws Massive Crowd

Mumbai, 16 th May 2024- The big opening night for the 15th KASHISH Pride Film Festival 2024 took place at the iconic Liberty Cinema on the 15th of May, 2024 in the city of Mumbai. The evening was lined up with announcements for special awards, some spectacular performances by standup comedian & filmmaker Varun Grover, and a Lavni & Kathak jugalbandi by Aditi Bhargav and Harshada Jambekar. Present at the opening ceremony were celebrities and socialites like Kiran Rao, Shweta Prasad Basu, Sonali Kulkarni, Barun Sobti, Lillete Dubey, Dolly Thakore, Anu Menon and more.

 The hosts for the night were Anu Menon aka Lola Kutty & SeduQtress SoniQa who entertained the audiences with their fun banter and lively presence on stage. Sridhar Rangayan, festival director of KASHISH, mentioned how the 15th edition of the film festival is special as the recent change in the name of the festival indicated the festival’s new mission of being inclusive of the non-queer community too.

 Next Saagar Gupta, director of programming asked, “You know the mystery behind the missing ‘I’ in the word of KASHISH, the letters of which are placed outside in the Liberty compound? “ He happily answered by saying that it is the audience, the guests, and everyone who has made it here today. It is them who complete KASHISH, as they stand to pose with the letters, they form the ‘I’.

 The winner of the International Poster Contest with the theme – Unfurl Your Pride, Sithesh C. Govind was awarded the KASHISH butterfly trophy and a cash prize of Rs. 25,000 and the award was handed over to him by Jury Member Sonali Kulkarni. Actor Rajshree Deshpande felicitated the first runner up Sangeetha Nandakumar and second runner up Vaibhav Tanna. Mrinali Gole of Liberty Cinema dedicated her association with KASHISH to her late husband, Mr.Nazir Hoosein. KASHISH has been held at the same venue since 2014.

 The KASHISH Rainbow Voices Award was awarded to director Jeo Baby for his film Kaathal The Core. This award was presented by Laapata Ladies fame director Kiran Rao who is also a Jury Member for the festival this year. Actor & Jury Member Barun Sobhti presented the Rainbow Champion Award to Manvendra Singh Gohil, the founder of Lakshya Trust in Gujarat for his extensive work for the LGBTQ+ community especially for the transgender individuals.

 The festival’s catalogue was also unveiled after the lighting of a lamp which brought all the Jury Members and Advisory Board members together on stage. There was also a laughter relief with Varun Grover’s standup and the evening’s end was graced by Aditi Bhargav & Harshada Jambekar and troupe’s breathtaking Kathak-Lavni jugalbandi which left the audience spell bound.

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