It was three years ago in July 2009 that the struggle of many people from the LGBT community ended,almost. In a historic judgment by Delhi High Court,Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code,which criminalised sexual activity against the order of nature,was read down to decriminalise same-sex behaviour among consenting adults.
Now,three years later,award-winning director and gay-rights activist Sridhar Rangayan is coming out with a feature-length documentary that strings together anguished voices of those who were tortured,blackmailed and indicted before the verdict came out. Titled Breaking Free,the documentary film is about people who created a movement and a movement that has created history.
It is a film about the law,about us and our struggle to break free, says Rangayan,who has been shooting this film for five years now. I also want to show how things have changed for the LGBT community after the judgment, he says.
The film tells the story of Kokila,a eunuch who was gangraped by goons,refused justice and then brutalised by the cops; of transgenders Urmi and Gauri,who were regularly arrested and threatened; and of Pottai,a eunuch from South India who committed suicide due to harassment and torture,among others. Im trying to make the film non-preachy because a film has to be entertaining after all, says Rangayan,adding that he has used a Charlie Chaplin-esque scene to describe the plight of a young gay man during the British rule in India.
The filmmaker also hopes to include interviews with eminent social activists and opinion builders,lawyers and the chief justice who passed the 2009 verdict,along with those who have constantly opposed decriminalisation of homosexuality. We have already interviewed opinionmakers such as Shyam Benegal,Chitra Palekar and Onir,among others,and hope to speak to more, says Rangayan.
Seventy per cent of the film has been shot in Mumbai,Bangalore and Delhi. The last leg of the filming will be done in August-September,while post-production is planned for October-November. The film is now raising funds through the online crowd-funding platform,Wishberry. There are incentives for contributors film credits,DVDs and invites to the films premiere, adds Rangayan with a chuckle.