The Candy Palmater Show

Why MISAFF director chose to open the festival with a movie that explores LGBT rights in India

Festival director Arshad Khan talks about the personal relevance of the film.
The opening night film, Aligarh, personally resonates with festival director Arshad Khan. (MISAFF/YouTube)
Arshad Khan (Courtesy of Clutch PR)

Arshad Khan took the news of the Orlando shooting to heart. A member of the gay Muslim community himself, the filmmaker said the silver lining of the June 12 tragedy was the opportunity to start a conversation around identity.

"A lot of gay Muslim voices spoke up and they said, 'No, we will not actually be a part of your military agenda and we're going to tell you that there are so many of us that live at the intersectionalities of identity,'" Arshad told Candy. "And we're going to deal with it in the 21st century way, which is to examine all possibilities and understand what's going on, and really take a hard look at the homophobia in our community."

Arshad helped continue that conversation with his choice of the first film shown at the Mosaic International South Asian Film Festival (MISAFF).

Aligarh is a part of a new wave of independent Indian cinema, and it opens the MISAFF tonight.

The annual film festival aims to showcase the best in contemporary South Asian and Middle Eastern cinema.

Other films being shown include Lala Begum, starring veteran Pakistan actress/filmmaker Marina Khan, and Waiting, by Anu Menon.

Arshad talks about the festival programming tells Candy about his own relationship with his devout Muslim father.