Coming out, in many ways

The film, Evening Shadows, screened at BIFFES was more a family saga than gay rights

Published - March 05, 2018 02:14 pm IST

The film Evening Shadows drew in huge crowds at its screening at BIFFES, because of the ripples it has created on the international platform. The film has had its World Première in Sydney at the Mardi Gras Film Festival. It made its Indian debut at BIFFES and will soon travel to Roze Filmdagen, Amsterdam and the Outfest Fusion, Los Angeles.

The film, set in Srirangapatna, focuses on a mother-son relationship. How the mother deals with her son’s coming out of the closet and the father’s reaction and struggle to accept it. “The film is mainstream and commercial in nature. It is not a gay film, but a family film, which I believe will reach out to all mothers out there, especially in smaller towns,” said the film’s director, Sridhar Rangayan, who used a crowd funding platform to make the film.

 A still from the film

A still from the film

The film features powerful dialogues and cinematography. Ananth Mahadevan plays a strict father in a well-depicted patriarchal family. The story subtly brings out the struggles of not just the gay son, but also the mother, aunt and a cousin, who is married to a gay man. In the end, you feel it is not just the protagonist who comes out, but every character,who comes out of their fixed mindsets and attitudes towards life, people and situations. The father comes out from his militaristic approach, mother from being subjugated to a patriarchal set-up and the aunt from her broken marriage. The acting by Ananth and Mona Ambegaonkar (mother’s role) are especially brilliant. And Shubha Mudgal’s haunting vocals and soulful renditions accompany the viewer through the film.

“I would not call it an autobiographical film, but, yes, parts of my life and the relationship between me and my mother are there in the film. Karthik (the gay protagonist) is not just one Sridhar, but many Sridhars put together,” adds Rangayan, who reveals that he came out more than 23 years ago, says he still has conversations with his mother. “The film takes off from what happens when someone comes out. The point is that youngsters think coming out is a momentary decision. It cannot be. It has to be a thought-out process as you need to hand-hold your parents, too, through this journey.”

The script for the film is written by Sagar Gupta, Sridhar’s partner, “We have been together for 23 years and our synergy is something that cannot be explained,” says the director. “I was amazed at the crowd that watched my film as it was not a happy young crowd but a mix of people of all ages. I saw men and women across age groups. They were with the film and seemed to get it. I could also hear some people snigger and laugh when they were uncomfortable. This was a good test audience.”

 Sridhar Rangayan, the director

Sridhar Rangayan, the director

It is not a gay film, but a family film, which I believe will reach out to all mothers out there, especially in smaller towns,

The only glitch was the film which was in Hindi, it would have been more effective if it was in Kannada or Tamil. As it had subtitles, it would have reached the local audience better. It was hard to see a Tamilian family settled in Srirangapatna, speaking in chaste Hindi. Even in a scene where the family visits Talakadu for a picnic, Tamil was used instead of Kannada, which made it a wee bit hard to connect the place to the characters.

“We chose Hindi as we wanted to reach out to a larger audience. And though I know the milieu of the languages (Kannada and Tamil), Sagar and I are more familiar with Hindi and hence chose that langauge for the film.”

Sridhar, who will soon be off to foreign shores, reveals that he will be back with a “full blown comedy. It is my forte. Not the usual kind of comedy you see, but one that brings out the humour and joy within you.”

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