The society that we live in today is one of several dualities. From presenting a seemingly ‘progressive’ facade and later going on to condemn any form of self-expression and identity that does not fit within the acceptable ambit of norms, we continue to play a dangerous game of hide and seek with how we position our views, our acceptance and more. For individuals and communities that live on the fringes of this great Indian acceptance debacle, life is hard and the challenges presented are tougher.
Every pride month, we seem to be inching a little further ahead than where we were a year ago. These tiny yet mindful steps facilitated by voices of change from the community have time and again proven to be powerful and thought-provoking. It is now very clearly established that in order for the movement to survive and grow, stories as told by its members who have endured prolonged battles against themselves, their peers and society at large need to be brought to the fore.
The dialogue and altered perceptions that this arouses can be transformative to say the very least. In this regard, a Chennai-based filmmaker/artist is pushing the envelope of his own skills and society’s perception of love, queer identity and more through a visceral multimedia project.
Pride: A Multimedia Exploration Of Self-Expression
Arun Siddarth has a flair for narrating stories of struggle and self-discovery. His debut short film ‘Caged’, which follows the journey of Sri Lankan refugees in India premiered on Disney+ Hotstar in 2021. Since its success, Siddarth has been on the hunt for similar stories that are gripping, powerful and rooted in contemporary society.
This led him to explore a story of forbidden love between two men. ‘Pride’ is a story that is set in modern society that still continues to be dominated by cishet representations of love. Queer tropes are less explored in modern Indian cinema and in search of this representation and in exploring what it means to own up to an identity that is not widely accepted in society, Arun’s experimental short film drives home a powerful and relevant point.
The visuals represent two parallel narratives, one of the comforts and safe space that engulfs the world of the two lovers, where their intimacy is secured and protected, and the other narrative shot entirely outdoors speaks of the battles and the challenges that they endure in order to keep their affair afloat. The striking visuals are paired with moving soundscapes and lyrical reflections of their personal journeys.
Pride, in its essence, aims to break the mould around how ‘masculinity’ is perceived in society by challenging generalised ideals through cinema and poetry.
The film is set to go live on the 26th of June, 2022 which is also observed as Pride Day in Chennai.
Follow Arun Sidharth’s work here.
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