The North-East regions of India have for far too long battled several challenges that have led to larger dialogue around representation, identity and the general idea of being seen, heard and accepted. From its cultural, lingual and historical offerings, there has been a larger sense of isolation that engulfed the community even geographically. A lot of what transpires on the ground seldom reaches mainstream media and these challenges often go unheard.
In representing a relatively marginalised community several Northeastern creatives have made conscious efforts in creating art or work that reaches the larger masses with a powerful story and narrative at its core. In this regard, in the wake of pride month, we at Homegrown have discovered a range of films focusing on queer identity and the community emerging from the Northeast. Here are our picks.
I. Outcast (2018)
This 90-minute film powerfully and precisely sums up the life of Assam’s transgender community. The story follows the live of a 16-year old transgender boy who flees his village to join a musical troupe (gharana). Layering the complex narrative are themes of identity, gender, discrimination and the challenges that follow in accepting oneself and society’s perception of the same.
II. Boys of Safdarjung (2018)
This short film was directed by Delhi-based Tsundue Phunkhang and Nikhil. D and delves into the secret lives of queer men living in the capital city’s most diverse neighbourhoods. The community that initially came together based on their cultural and ethnic similarities eventually found a lot more common ground with their interests, queer identity and navigating these multiple identities in a big city.
III. Wing One’s Way... (2021)
Director Arindam Barooah shot this short film in the midst of the pandemic in the living room of his home in rural Assam. The story also bagged the ‘Best LGBT Short Film’ award at Port Blair International Film Festival.
IV. Oneness (2021)
‘Oneness’ marks Manipur’s debut into queer cinema. The story revolves around a real-life honour killing case that happened in Manipur back in 2013.
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