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by Editorial Desk May 9 2024, 12:00 am Estimated Reading Time: 4 mins, 7 secs

KASHISH 2024 to host ‘Fire’side chat with Meenakshi Shedde. Internationally acclaimed filmmaker Deepa Mehta will have a ‘Fire’side chat with Nandita Das and also present her film ‘I Am Sirat’, reports the #Newsdesk.

The 15th edition of KASHISH Pride Film Festival is immensely proud to announce that internationally acclaimed filmmaker Deepa Mehta (Earth, Water, Fire, Bollywood/Hollywood, Midnight’s Children) whose films have won numerous awards across the globe, will present her latest documentary feature “I am Sirat”, and also participate in a discussion at South Asia’s biggest LGBTQ+ film festival in Mumbai on May 18th, 2024 at Liberty Cinema. 

Festival director Sridhar Rangayan is overjoyed by this opportunity and exclaims, “We have wanted to host Deepa Mehta at KASHISH for many years and now the dream has come true. We are thrilled by this wonderful opportunity to have this momentous chat with Deepa Mehta and Nandita Das. We hope to have a fireside chat that will crackle, with these two indomitable women, in conversation with the amazing Meenakshi Sheede”.

Deepa Mehta said, “To a large degree we are products of our cultural environment. From the film “Fire” to the documentary “I Am Sirat”, thanks to the LGBTQ+ film festival KASHISH I feel I have come full circle. If “Fire”, for me was about the limitations, the judgements that folks hold against same-sex love between women, “I Am Sirat”, a doc made 26 years later is about a transgender who awaits patiently for her mother to recognize that her son chooses to be a woman. Both films examine the same question, ‘why is self-determination in women considered selfish?’ I am grateful to KASHISH for giving us the opportunity to dwell upon this basic truth”.

National award winning actor and director Nandita Das said, “Fire was a landmark film and ignited the much-needed conversation around the LGBTQ issue. Though at the time, this vocabulary didn’t even exist! While we still have a long way to go, we have also come a long way since then. KASHISH is a testament to that. Personally, for me, it began my exploration and commitment to calling out 'othering' that we have so normalised. I have tried to find ways of addressing it through my social advocacy and films. Fire and all the conversations it has triggered have helped me evolve as a person and become a strong ally. I am looking forward to reminiscing about this journey with Deepa”.

This event is scheduled on May 18th from 4.30pm to 5.30pm at Liberty Cinema. The discussion, supported by Consulate General of Canada, attempts to unpack the beginnings of the LGBTQ+ movement in India with the release of the film Fire in 1998 and track forward to what the current scenario is for LGBTQ+ rights, but more importantly the representation of LGBTQ+ characters in cinema and web series, both in India and in Canada.

“I am Sirat”, co-directed by her along with Sirat, a transgender person in New Delhi on whose life the documentary is based, premiered at Toronto International Film Festival, and has been gaining acclaim across the world. Both Deepa Mehta and Sirat will be present at KASHISH 2024 to present the film and interact with the audiences.

Full-Festival and Day Passes for KASHISH 2024 can be bought on Insider at  

For detailed list of programs and schedules, please check

Saturday May 18, 2024 | 4.30 – 5.30 PM | Liberty Cinema: Fireside chat with Deepa Mehta and Nandita Das

More than 25 years ago, unaided by Twitter and Facebook, a film went viral in India. “Fire” was the first in mainstream Indian cinema to explore lesbian love. Released theatrically in 1998 in India, it introduced a taboo subject to the audience of the world’s largest film-producing and film-viewing nation. It became a sparking point for the LGBTQ+ community to come together and rally for equal rights. 26 years later, with homosexuality having been decriminalized and the struggle for marriage equality taking Center-stage, we look back and also track forward the impact of films on equal rights movements. In a momentous conversation with the director and lead actor of the film Fire – Deepa Mehta and Nandita Das – with well-known film critic and curator Meenakshi Shedde.


Director: Deepa Mehta, Sirat Taneja

87 min | 2023 | India, Canada | Punjabi

Caught between duty and self-determination, Sirat Taneja is a transgender woman who must act as her mother’s son when at home in New Delhi, but can be the woman she really is with her friends and at work with the Government of India. A collaboration between director Deepa Mehta and Sirat, the film has been constructed around Sirat’s lens. Shot on smartphones, Sirat controls her narrative and makes it accessible to us.

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