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Earlier this year, OutNewsGlobal became the first ever British LGBTQ+ magazine to appoint a correspondent based in India and so we couldn’t be more thrilled that our very own Shailaja Padindala’s film, Naanu Ladies, will premiere at the 16th Tasveer South Asian Seattle Film Festival on 1st October 2021.

Probably the first film about lesbian love to be made in Kannada (one of the main languages of southern India, sometimes called Kanarese in Britain) the film also deals with the hot topic of women’s reproductive rights in India. Shailaja Padindala commented, “As its creator, I have based a lot of my own personal life events within the film, for example the title Naanu Ladies means “I am a lady” .  

“Given my non binary appearance, most people mistook me for a boy throughout my childhood, and I am usually caught explaining my gender and myself in public places to people. These kind of situations only got funnier as I grew up, and became a part of my film and its title. 

“My film is largely an attempt to question gender, beauty standards and notions of glamour within Indian film industry and heteronormative society. The two protagonists are women artists in love who struggle to sustain their companionship amid a heteronormative society and middle class economic systems, and that process of struggle opens up many aspects of how society, economic systems, gender and marriages are structured in India.”

Naanu Ladies was made on a very tight budget with a largely all-woman crew, many of whom had no previous knowledge of LGBTQ+ lifestyles. This includes the actress who plays one of the main protagonists, Medina Kelamane, who – according to Padindala – had some inhibitions playing the role of a queer woman but who, throughout filming, came to understand the challenges facing queer people growing up in a heteronormative society in India.

Click here to find out more about the Tasveer Film Festival.

Read Shailaja’s latest OutNewsGlobal column here.

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Rob Harkavy

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