City’s only Exclusive Film Festival for Queer Women & Transpersons.

Umang, a support group for lesbian, bisexual women, queer women and transpersons (LBT) is organised the 2nd edition of Pankh- an LBT Film Festival. The aim of the festival is to start conversations about LBT rights and lives through films, discussions, performances and more. Pankh is presenting LBT counter-narratives in the context of existing LGBTQ discourse.

At the event there will be screenings of LBT films (a detailed schedule is attached), a special Hindi performance piece from the celebrated play Vagina Monologues (Kissa Yoni Ka) titled NANHI KALI SONE CHALI performed by Priyanka Setia and an interaction with Ms Maya Sharma, renowned LBT activist and Robin Chaurasia, founder of KRANTI among other activists.

Why Only Lesbian, Bisexual women and queer women and Transpersons?

There is a dearth of LBT voices within the LGBTQ space. Pearl Daruwalla, an organizer of the festival says “This is a highly marginalised and invisibilized community. Try and name more than 5 out lesbian, bisexual women and transmen from India and you would be in a bind. Thanks to HIV interventions, much of the funding and activism about LGBTQ has had a focus on Gay men and Transwomen, leaving LBT voices behind. This festival is providing that space so that LBT voices can be strengthened.”

Koninika Roy, Advocacy Manager at The Humsafar Trust and an organizer of the festival says, “The need for Pankh or any safe space like Umang for LBT in India is specifically because of the systematic marginalization of LBT persons and women’s sexuality in general in India. Women in India are vulnerable to house arrest, violence, rape and forced marriages. Lesbian women, bisexual women and people assigned female at birth in India face double stigma- for being women and for their gender identity and/or sexuality. These issues are often not discussed within mainstream LGBTQ or rights related spaces because there is not enough representation of LBT in these spaces. Hence we feel this space will specifically be able to highlight marginalization of LBT and add to the larger rights discourse.”

When and where?

The festival was held on 28th April 2019 at Mini Auditorium, S.N.D.T College, Juhu from 11 am to 8 pm.

What else is happening at Pankh?


The festival showcases a 2019 short film series titled Unheard Stories which follows the lives and struggles of six transpersons in India. This is followed by a 2015 Marathi film titled Mitraa (Friend), a story of the same gender desiring couple made by Ravi Jadhav. “Ebang Bewarish” (And the Unclaimed), directed by Debalina Majumdar is the story of two young girls who committed suicide together in Nandigram, one of the interior villages in West Bengal. The final film being screened is Sanchaaram (The Journey), by director Ligy J. Pullappally is a 2004 story of a lesbian couple in a remote village where such relationships are taboo.


The festival features a discussion on emerging queer initiatives in Mumbai such as Qitaab Zine, Thane Queer Collective and Sweekar, Rainbow Parents Support Group. There will also be discussions with Maya Sharma, founder of of Vikalp Women’s group and her activism in underprivileged India. Pankh will also feature a discussion with Robin Chaurasiya, an openly out queer person, an ex-US Air Force lieutenant and founder of NGO KRANTI which empowers children of sex workers.


Pankh features a special piece of Poor-Box Productions’ Kissa Yoni Ka (Vagina Monologues) titled Nanhi Kali Sone Chali, about a lesbian person performed by Priyanka Setia. There will also be a special comedy act by the Mad Bai, followed by a spectacular dance performance by Color Positive and ending with the dancing duo Karan & Ayu.

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