Life & Style

A short film with sign language to honour pride month shows love needs no language

Monisha Ajgaonkar

Monisha Ajgaonkar | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Monisha Ajgaonkar, a wedding photographer and founder of The Photo Diary in Mumbai, is also an LGBTQ activist. Taking a unique approach to honouring Pride month this year, she released a video titled Our own galaxy incorporating sign language into the plot. This video was made to raise awareness among both the deaf and LGBTQ communities, says the 33-year-old Monisha.

Monisha turned her passion for photography and videography into a profession when she was 20 years old. Her earlier works include L for Love which won an award at the 2018 DMA Asia ECHO Awards. In her previous collaboration with Mumbai’s Drag Queen, activist-artist Sushant Divgikr created a stunning coming-of-age photo series titled Blossom. This photo series was the first-ever nude shoot executed by Monisha and Sushant. She has also conceptualised various projects such as Love: No Boundaries, Unmasked, and L: Love Matters, to name a few. 

Monisha elaborates, Our Own Galaxy is the story of a young lesbian couple in love, who speak to each other in sign language. “The story revolves around a couple spending their last day together. One of them is fascinated by the stars and moon and reminds her partner that even though they will be in different cities or countries, they will always be in touch because the moon is shared by both of them, and they will think of each other every time they look up at the sky. Apart from the sign language used in the film, expressions and movements also convey much more.”

Our Own Galaxy is Monisha’s first attempt at shooting a video with VFX. She credits Nivesh Jain with doing justice to her vision with the editing. Mayuri Nivekar and Divyakshi Naik with the costume and styling, and 20-year-old Shubham Soni for his talent behind the camera. Despite the constraints of shooting in September 2021, during the lockdown, the dedicated team managed to film the entire video in a day.”

Monisha Ajgaonkar

Monisha Ajgaonkar | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Every year, Monisha tries to compose something meaningful, emotional and memorable for other LGBTQ+ communities. Monisha reveals that she had always been captivated by the universe, spaceships and the galaxy, so expressing her thoughts on film added a special connection.

This concept has been on her mind since 2020, but she wanted the right team to work on it. “I felt there was no point working with a team who didn’t understand what I wanted. So, when I discussed my idea with Mayuri, and Shubham Soni, I knew I could take the project forward. We consulted a friend who knows sign language to get it right. Some of the fluid dance movements were used to show celebration and happiness,” says Monisha.

Explaining the video she adds, “The girl is going abroad to work for two years and is surprised by her partner’s optimism over their long-distance relationship; she reassures by saying that it’s for their future together and that she will always be there for the partner. She proceeds to close her eyes, clasps her hands and transports her mind to the galaxy in which they are both together. They communicate with each other through their eyes and dance. Monisha has also sought to keep the love story as pure as possible by omitting any sexual overtones to emphasise the couple’s bond and their happiness.”

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Printable version | Sep 20, 2022 6:08:37 pm |