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HomeEducationSchools in Bengal to orient children towards gay sex

Schools in Bengal to orient children towards gay sex

The objective of the screenings in schools is to promote inclusive education so that LGBTQ youth do not feel unwanted, says an organiser

It’s not the United States alone where is going woke. Eight short films on same-sex relationships, made by young film-makers that have been shortlisted for Prayasam’s Bad and Beautiful World Film Festival, will be shown to impressionable children at several schools after the reopening of educational institutes in the state. A partner organisation of Unicef, Prayasam, works to create an environment where the youth can be ‘self-empowered’.

Bengali language films are not new to the LGBTQ concept though. Rituparno Ghosh was arguably the greatest leader of the campaign in the medium of films in the said language not only by virtue of his films but also in his effeminate mannerisms during interviews and in public appearances. But children were hardly subjected to that LGBTQ advocacy.

Curiously, Ghosh was not born homosexual, people knowing him since his childhood say. “He perhaps put on the mannerisms to carve a niche in the market,” one of his classmates from South Point School said. A batchmate from Jadavpur University vouched for the claim.

Bangla films have dabbled in transgender issues as in the film Samantaral, but that was not meant for viewing by children either. And some of the claims made by the characters in the film defied the science of unconventional genders and sex, as Sirf News‘ Editor-in-Chief explained on in 2019:

“The young makers – Salim Shekh, Manish Chowdhury, Saptarshi Ray, Salim Shekh and Avijit Marjit — hail from Dakhindari, Mahishbathan, Nazrul Pally. They are students of Prasayam Visual Basics-Asia’s only grassroots film studio that is supported by Adobe. The main objective of the screenings is to promote inclusive education so that LGBTQ youth do not feel isolated or unwanted. The films will be screened at several schools after they reopen,” said Prayasam’s director Prasanta Roy.

These films for screening in schools, titled RESH (something that lingers on), deal with fictionalised accounts of same-sex relationships to explore diverse subjects such as companionship, child abuse, acceptance, identity crisis and a spectrum of other human emotions. Some of the ideas are interesting though the execution has room for improvement.

Salim Shekh’s Dekha (sight), for example, records a meeting between an estranged father and his gay son. Dakkhina (offering to a priest) explores the concept of dignity of a male escort who is driven around the city by an elderly man. “Some of my friends who are male escorts have insisted that self-respect is very important for them. By making this film, I wanted to break the myth that has about their self-esteem for their life’s choices,” said its 23-year-old director Salim Shekh.

Durbin is edgy. It explores how a journalist opens up to his live-in partner about the crisis in his life after the demise of his father who, he learnt, was involved in a rewarding relationship with his friend. Its 24-year-old director Saptarshi Ray said that getting the casting and locations were challenging. “Actors went back after listening to the storyline. That’s why it is all the more important to screen these films so that these inhibitions are done away with,” Ray said.

Deya Neya brings in the class difference within the ambit of a developing relationship between a man and a food delivery boy. “In just over 15 min, I have tried to explore how socio-economic hurdles pose as greater problems for the thriving of such relationships,” said its 24-year-old director Manish Chowdhury.

The films will premiere in schools on 3 December at the eighth Bad and Beautiful World Film Festival at Kalanjali Art Space.

Meanwhile, no journalist dared ask the organisers about the implications of raising children on a homosexual worldview.

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