Sunday, July 02, 2006

Marching with pride


Alternate sexualities. Everyone pretends we don't exist. Like the air we breathe. Breathe in, breathe out. You are not conscious of it. Maybe you don't want to be. Remember this song? But don't sing it--speak it: Kuch na kaho, kuch bhi na kaho. Kya kehna hai, kya sun-na hai. Tumko pata hai, mujhko pata hai. Samay ka ye pal tham sa gaya hai.
Time--at least the law--has stood still. Aren't more than A Hundred Years of Locking Us in the Closet Enough! An obnoxious British Raj law that criminalizes people of the same sex for loving each other, Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, stands on the books. Meanwhile the rest of India prides itself on being a sovereign, democratic republic, even the world's largest democracy. Human rights? Yes, but only custom-fit, convenient ones only please--we are Indians! Shame on you, Heterosexual India.
Hate begets hate, love returns manifold. Nafrat karengay, nafrat milegee; pyar karengay, dugnaa milegaa. Sun le tu dil kee sadaa, pyar se pyar sajaa.
Thirty per cent of the population is NOT heterosexual. Family: You, mummy, papa, dada, dadi, nana, nani. Wake up and smell the coffee, at least one of you IS gay or bisexual. Queer India, it's time to come out wherever you are and face yourself in the mirror. Breathe the air, feel it in your lungs. No more hiding; it's Truth AND dare. The truth shall set you free. Satyamev Jayate!
The Pride march this year started from the statue of Mahatma Gandhi near the maidan and ended at Rabindra Sadan. But this march of self-affirmation shall go on, until India Shame becomes India Shining: "Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high..."
Agay bhi hoga jo uska karam, yeh din to manayenge har saal hum. This march of self-affirmation shall go on, for we have promises to keep to our forebears and miles to go before India Shame becomes India Shining:
Pictures from my second Pride march can be found on the links below. The first march in which I took part was also the first ever in India and again in Kolkata, in 1999.

My set of Pride march 2006 photos

The same set of pics is also on my Yahoo! 360 page

Friday, May 19, 2006

Banned, banned and banned again!

Edwin Fernandes in The Pink Mirror
A still from Gulabi Aaina

Like Jesus Christ is said to have told Peter, ‘Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice’, the Indian Censor Board in Delhi has banned Sridhar Rangayan’s film on drag queens thrice over.

While in April 2003 the censor board refused ‘Gulabi Aaina’ (The Pink Mirror) a certificate because it is “full of obscenity and vulgarity”, recently in April 2006, the board has done a complete change of tack to keep the film in the closet! The revising committee and the second revising committee refused it a certificate because in their opinion “the film Gulabi Aaina deals with an extremely complex issue of alternate sexuality in a peripheral manner”. Further, the board’s order states, “The problems and isolation faced by transvestites has not been dealt with in a holistic manner. Thus the film is refused certification as per relevant provisions of Cinematograph Act 1952”.

No, there’s no need to be happy or shocked that our esteemed State-appointed gatekeepers of art have discovered that most Indian filmmakers, when they are not invisibilizing homosexuality, are making fun of it. Theirs is neither a response to the ‘Girlfriend’ shock or to the ‘My Brother Nikhil’ balm. At worst it is an insidious, invidious game plan to keep a movie that makes no bones about same-sex desire and its natural ness with loads of humor hidden from the public gaze. At best, it is the sheer arrogance of an ignorant lot with no idea about the medium or the subject giving short shrift to the intelligence of both the audience and the filmmaker.

Sridhar is justifiably enraged and ready to join battle. He is planning to fight it out by taking the issue to the tribunal. (Also, see his comments below on the guidelines under which the committee reviewed the film and rejected it.) Fighting a battle for three years to get his film reviewed by the Board, Sridhar says he came across several skeletons in the censor board’s cupboard: “From those who write censor scripts, but actually offer their services as touts to get the film passed by censors to filmmakers who add six scenes of violence so that the censors can cut three and pass it. I even found out from reliable sources that a recent, acclaimed gay film was passed by the Censor Board on payment of certain monies.”

While Sridhar does praise the Board’s chairperson Sharmila Tagore and the regional officer at Delhi who “at least gave the film a fair chance by putting it up for review”, he is critical of the revising committee: “It was ridiculous sitting in front of six people and having to explain why I made the film and what I have tried to say in the film. If I could say it all verbally, then why did I have to use a visual medium like film!

“Peripheral and not holistic?! What do they expect me to say in 40 minutes, which is the length of my film. Moreover, ‘Gulabi Aaina’ is not a documentary. I wanted it to be an entertainer, but layered with subtext. When you do a film about gays, everyone expects a preachy message or a downright maudlin tearjerker. I wanted the audience to laugh with the characters instead of at them. Isn’t that good enough reason to make the film and have it reach viewers? It’s a different way of sensitizing.”

The Board really takes the cake and the pudding for implying that Sridhar’s film is insensitive to the problems faced by what it calls “transvestites”. In fact, that requires a vast stretch of imagination considering that Sridhar has been one of the forbearers of the gay rights movement in Bombay, being deeply involved with 'Bombay Dost' and The Humsafar Trust. It’s like calling Arjun Singh insensitive to the plight of OBC students (In Singh’s case, we are not sure whether his sincerity is for the OBC cause or to his own political survival).

The feckless, hypocrites in the committee after all the 'tamasha' of interrogating Sridhar about the film didn’t have the balls to pass the film. Says he, “They pretend they are broadminded, but when it comes to films with an alternate take, they cower. Basically, I have realized they wanted my characters to cry over their fate. They didn’t take too kindly to the fact that I showed gays and drag queens happy with their lives and being unapologetic. They wanted a daily soap with buckets of tears!” If Ekta Kapoor was looking for 'chamchas', she would have found them there.

Sridhar Rangayan color
Sridhar Rangayan

Meanwhile, Sridhar is looking for your support, especially if you are from the film fraternity and/or the gay community: “My fight is about freedom of expression as a filmmaker, and I damn well know how to use it sensitively and sensibly.”

Thankfully, Sridhar’s latest film ‘Yours Emotionally!’ has been produced by a UK based production house so no going through the sicko censors this time!

Crafty Censors

Instead of protecting the citizens, more often the State uses the law to terrorize them and curb their rights. Our censorship guidelines have also been similarly twisted to restrict free speech and discussion of homosexuality.

While an in-depth look at the guidelines is needed, Sridhar gave his responses to some of the guidelines under which the committee reviewed ‘Gulabi Aaina’ and rejected it:

- The medium of film remains responsible and sensitive to the values and standards of society.
“Nowhere is it mentioned what are these great values and standards of the society that they talk about. It is all a thick cloud in the air that the moral policemen comfortably hide under.”

- Artistic expression and creative freedom are not unduly curbed.
“But that’s exactly what they are doing by banning my film. It’s utterly ridiculous!”

- Certification is responsive to social change.
“If they keep refusing certificate to films that are away from the mainstream and attempt to discuss alternate issues, how do they expect any social change to happen? All they want is to maintain a status quo so that none of them will be blamed for taking an issue forward. It’s the who-wants-to-bell-the-cat syndrome.”

- The medium of film provides clean and healthy entertainment.
“Just look at all the masala films and skin flicks that get the Censor’s nod. Calling it clean and healthy entertainment is a big joke. Take a reality check folks!”

- As far as possible, the film is of aesthetic value and cinematically of good standard.
“My film has been screened at 57 international film festivals and won Jury Awards for Best Film of the Festival in New York and France. Most of the reviews talk about the sensitive handling of the subject and it has been rated as ‘fabulous’, ‘compelling’, ‘unique’ and even ‘an excellent example of Indian cinema’ by a Spanish critic. An art historian at Ohio State University compared it to Shyam Benegal’s 'Mandi', saying it bridged the gap between ‘Fire’ and ‘Bombay Boys’ by “adding that breath of reality”. How much more aesthetic and cinematic value can I pump into the film to please the censors? Maybe I should include 5 grisly murders, 3 item numbers and a bevy of half-naked women!”

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Protesting on behalf of DIDs

That's displaced in development (or development-induced-displacement) according to this noteworthy post on Desicritics by Madhukar. My anger is not just about the fact that those being displaced have not received their due compensation -- this is land-grabbing by the State -- but also against the way in which the government used force in an attempt to break up a peaceful demonstration at Jantar Mantar. Just one more instance of police high handedness, you say? After all it's "jiski lathee uskee bhains". But does it mean one should not raise one's voice against it? If the government truly feared for Patkar's health, wasn't there a better time (instead of midnight) or a peaceful way of arresting her and other Narmada Bachao Andolan activists?
You may or may not agree with Medha Patkar's cause but as a commentator about this emotional piece on Patkar's protest says: "(she) deserves to be commended for following what her beliefs are. In today's world, few of us are unworldly, isn't it? We worship at the shrine of high-paying jobs, expensive acquisitions, 'practical decisions' in life like scorning an arts education in favor of science or MBA degrees. Medha Patkar is living her convictions. Which can't be easy on an empty stomach."
If you do care a bit about the cause of the DID though, I would urge you to follow Madhukar's advice in his piece linked above and at the very least sign this petition and write to the media condemning the police for their goondaism.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

The Farmer Prince

Originally uploaded by Nitin Karani.
The coming out of Manavendra Singh Gohil as a gay man--the only Indian royal to do so--has caused quite a stir in Gujarat (with news travelling as far as London), within the circles of the erstwhile princely families, and specifically in his native Rajpipla.
My friend Vivek Raj Anand has written a wonderful piece on Manav (as we call him) that can be read on the Gay_Bombay Yahoo! list.
Manav's life would make a wonderful subject for a film and a documentary may be in the works already.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Lessons from Jammu and Lucknow

It's an affliction that's widespread in our police force. They would rather harass and out two grown-up gay people rather than fight terrorism and real crime.

Two adult lesbians in Jammu were threatened and humiliated for living together, even arrested let off (because they had to be--there is nothing in the law books against lesbianism) but not without being forcibly separated and handed over to their respective families, with a (unofficial?) directive to stay separate.

No wonder we have blasts after blasts (and there's more to come, you bet!). Even if there's nothing in the law that makes it a crime for lesbians to cohabit or even have sex, the police will poke their idiotic noses in our affairs. It's time we stopped being diffident and told errant cops to get off our backs!

One big mistake on the part of the LGBT community is that the police have not been sensitized to our issues. So you will find the Lucknow incident where gay outreach workers who are spreading AIDS prevention messages or ordinary gay men who cruise the Internet being arrested and humiliated (in front of the national media too boot--and the National Human Rights Commission cares a whit about it). On the other hand there have been no such incidents in Bombay where the Humsafar Trust has (disclosure: I am a trustee) been regularly holding workshops for the police force in different areas of the city.

It's time LGBT communities everywhere became more proactive instead of reacting to crises.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Guns and 'Romance' - My Vote For The Best Picture Oscar

I am not being self-congratulatory but the plain truth is I chose the right film between Crash and Brokeback Mountain. I posted this on about 30 minutes before the Oscar ceremony began. (see the link in the title for my original desicrtitics post or read the cross-post below.)

I have seen two Oscar favorites so far, and my own vote goes to Crash. Brokeback Mountain, in spite of being a gay-themed film, did not move me the way Crash does.

I can think of several possible reasons for this --other than the intrinsic merits of these films. In random order: The accents (I think I did not understand one-third of the dialogue) in BM, its slow pace, and the fact that I have seen enough closeted men up-close so that I look at most of them with a clinical detachment.

Crash is also a tension-filled drama compared to BM's dry love story. The former leaves you with some hope, while BM leaves me, as a gay man, neither seething with anger at the homophobia (too subtle) nor does it make me cry buckets. I am not a fan of violence in film but here it was too fleeting to either hurt or outrage me (the way I was outraged by the violation of a woman's body in Crash). I would prefer the docu on the Matthew Shepard case instead.

To me Crash is not just about racial prejudice but also a comment on America's gun culture. I have no knowledge about the situation in the States, but I know that enough discrimination exists on the individual level and there is enough violence involving guns to make them alive issues--they may disappear from the public radar but they do not go away. BM's flag for the gay issue is too underplayed for my liking.

In India, coincidentally, some cases of shootings are in the spotlight again, though unfortunately I am yet to see any debate around gun control. I am of course referring to the cases of Jessica Lal, Priyadarshini Matoo and now the latest Meher Bhargava case.

It's time lawmakers and police officals made it more difficult for people to posses firearms rather than making it more tough to run places of entertainment. Or making it a crime for two men to love each other.

Anyway, here's a nice review of Crash by Philip French of The Guardian (not sure why he calls it Hollywood's last taboo though) and one by desicritic, Shanti.

I seem to prefer Philip French over Peter Bradshaw, but I can't agree with French's lavish praise of BM. I would by and large agree with desicritic Triniman's thoughts on Brokeback Mountain.

With the Oscars just beginning. Crash might just crash Brokeback's party.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Gulabi Aaina DVD available for sale

This is a plug for my friend, Sridhar (and no Sridhar, this is not out of any guilt for my previous post panning your latest, 'Yours Emotionally'
Press Release:


Festival favourite, award winning Bollywood riotous comedy ' The Pink Mirror' (Gulabi Aaina) is NOW available for online DVD purchase.

'The Pink Mirror' (Gulabi Aaina) - a Bollywood entertainer with a difference : India's first film on Drag Queens is a 40min. camp romp about two drag queens and a gay teenager seducing a handsome hunk! The film, for the first time, peeps into the fascinating campy closet of Indian gender-benders and discovers deep emotional bonds.

Official Selction at a record 56 International Film Fesivals, the film has won Jury Award for Best Film at festivals in Fire Island and France. This underground film which has has found immense critical acclaim from reviewers, festival directors and global audiences. Renowned Universities have added the film to their archives / library an using it as resource material in their academic courses like Gender, Nation and the World; Activist Voices in India; Gender and Film course.

The film's director, Sridhar Rangayan says earnestly, "As you know, there is hardly any resources in South Asian countries to fund / produce queer films and support from all quarters is most welcome. Buy copies of this laugh riot and help us make more! "

DVD online sale site:
Contact info :

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Yours Emotionally - II: My take

Portraying desi angst over inane traditions is a Gurinder Chadha specialty; most of her films poke fun at the ‘mummyji’ and the ‘auntyji’, stereotyping them in the process. Contrasting different queer, male identities—South Asian, ‘Western’ (White, American)—is also not a new idea: Jimmy Mistry starrer ‘Touch of Pink’ executed it with some success not too long ago, although I found the passé, comic attempt rather insipid.

Sridhar Rangayan and Niranjan Kamatkar—friends, former roommates and now trans-continental collaborators on ‘Yours Emotionally’—have tried a more serious approach to the questions of identity versus behavior, gay versus homosexual, out versus closeted (and married), desi versus Indian, and desi versus Western. Dense though this may seem, the film fails to plumb any depth of emotion, leaving one feeling cold.

But before I say more, here’s the synopsis from the film’s website:
Ravi & Paul, two friends from Leicester, end up attending a gay party in the small Indian town of Shimoga, upon an invitation of Ravi’s Parsee email-pal Jeh from Mumbai. A genteel dreamer Ravi instantly falls in love with Mani - a dark and handsome local working man.
Ravi and Paul also meet an older male couple, Murthy and Anna, now in their sixties. Murthy has lived in the UK to avoid marriage. When he returns to attend his mother’s funeral, his lover Anna (a married man by then) convinces him to stay back. After his wife’s death, Anna decides to join Murthy and they run a hotel. Both Ravi & Paul are surprised to meet the older same-sex couple.
Although Ravi can’t let go of his newfound love, Mani cannot overcome the vast gap that exists between them. Mani is under constant pressure to get married to a woman. When Ravi asks Mani to accompany him to UK, Mani shows very little willingness. Ravi seeks Murthy and Anna’s help, but the couple hide behind words of wisdom and express inability to bring Ravi and Mani together. Tension brews between Ravi and Paul due to sexually charged Mani and the situation highlights some nasty cracks in their friendship... Mani throws in a surprise at the farewell meeting that Ravi’s asked for...

And here’s what the director says about the film:

‘Yours Emotionally’ is as much about love and passion as about cultural contrasts and gay identity as perceived from different angles. Though these elements are to form the backdrop, they actually thrust themselves to the forefront, entangling the five principal characters in its emotional web. The film is a tribute to gay men who negotiate their same-sex-love identities within the stringent social, religious, cultural boundaries. It is a tribute to their grit and strength at fighting some of the stereotypes.The film, treated in a cinema vérité kind of realism with surrealistic passages, is set in its protagonist’s ‘mindspace’ and reflects his love, passion, happiness and fears through colors tones, textures and transitions. The real and imaginary merge to create a bizarre world of emotions that is actually his journey through a holiday.While making a film it is always difficult to present realities without prejudice… and keep a balance - both cultural and emotional. There are always huge expectations from anything made of this nature since there are very few opportunities of public expressions for such issues. In that sense, ‘Yours Emotional’ has been a challenge to me as a director and I hope I have been able to do justice to the characters.

It’s a fairly plausible, real story whose value is its documentation of the realities of India’s homosexual males. But what does it do beyond that? There are a few niggling problems with the film, but one could overlook them if one connects with the characters. However, I do not feel the pain of Ravi’s doomed love. Nor does the Muthy-Anna relationship warm the proverbial cockles of one’s heart. Am I hard-hearted? Perhaps my boyfriend would agree. But seriously, the film fails to hold my interest. The length—86 minutes—seem like a drag. At the end of which I feel empty, meaningless, soulless.

‘Gulabi Aaina’ is less than half the length of ‘Yours Emotionally’ but has enough drama to hold your attention. And there’s the witty, bitchy repartee as well. (Click here for my comments on ‘Gulabi Aaina.) Maybe I had high expectations of ‘Yours Emotionally’, given the film’s theme and its name. (By the way, the exclamation in its name is certainly unwarranted.)

There’s little emotional quotient here. But where are things going wrong? The problem perhaps is that I have little patience for people like Ravi who fall in love after one night of sex and are willing to take strangers home (in this case, the UK!) I don’t deny there’s love at first sight and people lose their heads over it. But do they deserve any sympathy for being obsessed by the objects of their affection? And should Mani get any sympathy for being spineless? Anna and Murthy may be victims of their circumstances but one hears of many Annas and Murthys all the time. Now that they are free of encumbrances, what’s holding them back from coming out of the closet and affirming their relationship?

Well-begun is half done. But the ‘party’ scenes, are not aesthetically done—there’s a squalid, weird feel to them, which casts a shadow over the rest of the film. The producers are even proud of the film having “lots of hot scenes” (as advertised on the website). I am no prude and I admit where there are two gays there’s likely to be sex (and where there are three, an orgy!). And it’s not as if there’s excessive nudity. It’s just that the camera makes it look very ugly. Okay, so how does one portray an orgy? I don’t know but then can’t we have a different beginning to set the tone?

Hats off to the cast for not shying away from a stigmatized subject. Some of them are professional actors, and for their courage in taking up the assignment they deserve a pat on the back.

'Yours Emotionally' is no laugh-out-loud-at-the-clash-of-cultures film. However, its solemn slant and decadent tint are a drag on its offering any emotional high.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Yours emotionally - I

This is the draft of an article I wrote for the March 2005 issue of Trikone on Sridhar Rangayan (Most people can't seem to get the last name right!). It was written in January that year and Sridhar went on to direct another gay film 'Yours Emotionally' (after 'Gulabi Aaina'). A trailer of this new film will be shown at the upcoming GayBombay film festival. I hope to post a review (of sorts!) of YE this weekend. Until then, here's my article on Sridhar:

It is up to each one of us to make what we will of the opportunities that come our way, how we play the game. Sridhar Rangayan has given as freely of himself to friends and the LGBT communities, as he has received from them. His house has been the ‘family home’ that has witnessed festive ‘addas’ and ferocious activist meets, and many a romance bloom, and sadly, wilt. Sridhar, after all, is all about relationships—whether it’s the one he has shared with life- and business partner Saagar; the kind of work he has produced as a professional in the TV industry or the circle of friendship or alternative family to which he belongs and the two institutions created by it, ‘Bombay Dost’ and The Humsafar Trust.
He has therefore chosen the perfect subject for the next (‘Night of Flambé’) in his ‘Rainbow Stories’ series of seven queer themed films—“gay relationships”. At least some of the material will be drawn from his own relationship, which crossed the ten-year milestone. “Ten years of togetherness—for us it’s a HUGE milestone! Most gay relationships tend to fizzle out in 7.5 years. In the fifth or sixth year, one wonders whether it’s going to last until one is 60-65, whether there will be distractions, incompatibility…. Now we feel that we can’t do without each other—and we can’t even get anybody else,” he rounds off with a joke, in typical Sridhar style.
This ability to laugh at—and live with—oneself is probably what found expression in ‘Gulabi Aaina’ (‘The Pink Mirror’) or India’s first gay film on drag queens. For Sridhar, the film represented the coming together of his activist and artistic sides “to make a product that,” he says “belongs to me, my partner and my community. We made it on an impulse but the film has gathered its own momentum, becoming a movement much beyond our expectations.” A simple desire to capture the ‘adaas’ of Edwin (one of the film’s lead) translated on screen has ended up becoming a “cult film” (a label given by the media) representative of Indian drag queens in 18 countries at 45 film festivals, and brought Sridhar laurels, awards and international media exposure. Even today, two years later, festivals invite the film, people ask for copies, and the media write about it, in India and outside. “There is still activity around the film; it’s exciting!”
Back home though Sridhar has been dealing with censorship (the film has been termed “full of obscenity”), a lukewarm response from Indian LGBT groups and some censure as well from the straight-acting, English-speaking gay genus. Unwilling to recant on his artistic ‘point de vue’ for anyone, Sridhar has resisted off-the-record offers of a (Universal!) censorship certificate by palms itching to be greased, choosing instead to go in appeal against the Censor Board. And self-hating fags be damned; what counts is the “phenomenal response” to the film by those whom it gave a voice for the first time, i.e., the cross-dressing ‘koti’. “What the community as a whole makes of the film, how they use it is up to them. I was hoping that the ‘hijra’ communities will also screen it… that the film will be seen by many more people,” Sridhar says, partly disappointed with the lack of appreciation by his own.
What he also finds “rather disturbing” is that within the gay community, there is much skepticism about gay relationships. That and the fact that “they are seen as an aberration. People say ‘Why do they want make ‘chapattis’ together?’ There is the dominant-subservient, active-passive stamp that comes from the hetero pattern—even the community sees same-sex relationships within these parameters. Or suppose one of the partners does sleep outside the relationship, there is so much heat generated about it—the community seems more concerned about it than the two people involved.”
Sridhar and Saagar have found acceptance (often wholehearted but sometimes stingy) from friends and their showbiz fraternity. Both, wickedly and gratefully, Sridhar enjoys the reactions in mostly-hetero spaces to their being lovers. Them being labeled gay artists in an essentially intellectually impoverished industry is a risk Sridhar is conscious about, but the greater danger he says is the narrowing of his own vision to gay-only subjects. “I would love to continue doing other things. I would enjoy making a ‘Dr. Zhivago’—to make an Indian version of it is THE dream—as much as I enjoyed making ‘Gulabi Aaina’ We continue to do a lot of mainstream TV, including a hetero romance set on a cruise liner!” Many dream boats sail by but Sri and Saagar maintain the professional’s position on the sets. Gay jokes are common behind the scenes—the good ones being appreciated and the phobic ones politely berated.
Then of course, there is the question of family acceptance—Saagar’s  family is not quite aware of their ‘domestic enterprise’. (They stay away from their folks—Sridhar’s in small-town Mandya near Bangalore; Saagar’s in Meerut.)  “That’s one hurdle we are yet to cross—I am out to my family; he’s not. For Saagar’s family, we are still ‘bhai-bhai’ staying together,” Sridhar says. What is interesting is that Saagar has gone from being ‘woh ladka’ for Sridhar’s mother to someone with whom she can have long conversations.”
Mirroring Sridhar’s optimistic outlook, ‘Night of Flambe’, a 70-minute feature shot in digital format, will be “not so much about the problems of a relationship but its beauty despite the problems.” While scripting progresses on the film, Sridhar is looking at ways to cement his relationship with Saagar further: “Buying a house together would perhaps be one way of doing that. I don’t know how easy it would be for us to get a housing loan and buy a house jointly. I cannot even nominate Saagar in my insurance policy—he needs to be a blood relative. That we are business partners is the only ‘legal recognition’ we can hang on to—most couples don’t even have that. There is security in the relationship but these things give some social sanction, make us more secure.”
Security is cherished in the graying, balding years and peril prized in youth. Eleven years ago, Sridhar, a qualified engineer gave up a lucrative job for apprenticeship with Sai Paranjpye. Solaris Pictures’, the company formed by Sri and Saagar since they went indy, has produced much ‘mainstream work’; this helped finance ‘Gulabi Aaina’ and will also roll in the money for the next Rainbow story. Sridhar is determined to place a bet again with his own money while the first film is only now getting close to the breakeven line.
Sridhar would rather not speculate on what he would, if asked to pick, choose to be—artist or activist. “Hopefully, a filmmaker who can straddle both—a good acrobat.”

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

More on the Apple logo and much much more on Turing

Here are some more interesting links on Alan Turing, the Apple logo and the dubious link between the two. This is by someone who has written a book on Turing. The first part of the piece here gives some more info on the Apple logos.

A link to an interesting article on the ‘connection’ with even more links (which I am yet to explore).

Thanks for Sanjay, a blogger himself. (see

And here’s a response from ‘Paul’ whose comment eloquently sums up what my previous post tried to convey:

I live in UK and know nothing about Apple but I did see Breaking the Code the BBC play about Alan Turing which was repeated on BBC4 only weeks ago and it stood up brilliantly. So much more satisfying then much Hollywood gay sentimental mush. It was a very British play and caught the period (the war and post-War period) brilliantly. The cast superb, Derek Jacobi as Alan Turing talked about his work to his new boss at Bletchley Park (where the German Engima Machine was kept and the code eventually cracked by him) which should have had everyone turning off their sets for it was way over everyone's head - but it was spellbinding.  The play followed very much the Wikipedia piece although 'Joan' suggested marriage to him not the other way around and he turned her down but a close friendship between the two was maintained.
The film indicated that his death was suicide from cyanide and a half eaten apple was shown on his bedside table.
It is ironic that a man who shortened the War, who saved many Allied lives by cracking the Enigma code, should be shat on by Britain, become a criminal for his homosexuality and be fed female hormones to 'cure' him. The play indicated that he was being 'watched' by the security services as they thought he had become a security risk.”

Monday, January 23, 2006

Legend of the ‘Apple’ and the genius who inspired it

Originally uploaded by QueerIndia.

Striped Apple logo

There aren't many Mac users in Mumbai and the previous Apple logo (it became single-coloured in 1998) is not a common sight (I don’t remember seeing any ad for the brand). Coming from a publishing background and being just slightly tech savvy, I am familiar with the ‘rainbow colored half-eaten’ fruit. So I am surprised I never wondered about the rainbow band.

When Vibs mentioned to me recently about the belief that it was meant to be a homage to Alan Turing, the genius mathematician, it was news to me. I tried to look up Apple Computer’s site to verify this but didn’t find the official history of the logo though. (If anyone has found it, please let me know.) According to Wikipedia (is it still considered reliable?), the story is just an urban legend.
But the Apple Computer page on the web encyclopedia led me to its page on Alan Turing. (I am sure there’s a term for this kind of ‘serendipity’). Turing had been discussed a long time ago by someone on an Indian gay Yahoo! groups but I am not sure what was said then. So it’s only now that the circumstances leading to his death and his tragic end have made an impact on me. Turing was barely 42 when he died. A genius snatched by virulent ignorance and hatred. Another life snuffed out for being homosexual.

PS. For those who missed my posts, I am sorry for being away. Work and family come before blogging. But I have missed being here too!