In February last year, a crowd-funded Indian independent film premiered at the Mardi Gras film festival in Sydney. The movie, Evening Shadows struck a chord for its portrayal of the LGBTQ community and its experiences. The slice-of-life film deals with the dilemma faced by an orthodox family in a small town in South India, when the youngest son, Kartik (played by Devansh Doshi) comes out as gay to his conservative parents. The heart-warming movie, which releases in theatres this weekend, focuses on the mother-son bond as the mother (played by Mona Ambegaonkar) comes to terms with his sexuality.
Evening Shadows' director Sridhar Rangayan (founding director of the Kashish Mumbai Queer Film Festival) and dialogue writer, Saagar Gupta, have drawn from their own experiences coming out to their families. "The film is semi-autobiographical. My mother had to go through challenges in her social circle, which is represented on-screen. She loved the film although she says she didn't treat me that badly," Sridhar laughs. The movie, which shows Mona's character challenging patriarchy and standing up for her son, is also feminist. But Sridhar is quick to point out that despite the underlying themes, it's also an entertaining watch.
He adds, "The movie will appeal to all parents because it brings out the differences between two generations. For instance, if the son was not gay but wanted to marry outside his caste, the dialogues would remain similar."
The film has been doing the festival rounds since last year and has been partly crowd-funded. It's also self-distributed because finding a distributor proved to be challenging for Sridhar and team. It's releasing only in metro cities via Vkaao, an on-demand theatre service, which means Evening Shadows will only get a release if a minimum number of seats are booked. A film like this is truly a test of whether the audience is ready for such content, and also whether they're ready to pay and show up to change the narrative of the Indian film industry.
Sridhar says, "The censor board usually gives movies about homosexuality an 'A' rating but seeing as Evening Shadows has a sensitive approach and is about a family, they gave it a U/A certificate."
You know where to be this weekend.
Book your tickets for Evening Shadows here.
Mumbai: January 11-17, PVR Dynamix, Juhu.
New Delhi: January 16-17, PVR Icon, DLF Promenade, Vasant Kunj.
Kolkata: January 16-17, PVR Diamond Plaza, Jessore
Bengaluru: January 19-20, PVR Forum, Koramangala