Live Event — 7 October 2020, 20:00
Essential Cinema: Badnam Basti
Jonathan Ali, Rini Bhattacharya Mehta, Rajinder Dudrah and Jason Jones on Badnam Basti.
Briefly released in 1971 and subsequently lost for decades until its rediscovery in 2019 at Arsenal Berlin, Badnam Basti (Alley of Ill Repute) is the debut feature of Indian New Wave filmmaker Prem Kapoor. It can be viewed online at Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival up until 11th October.
In addition to its artistic value, Badnam Basti is remarkable as it is perhaps the first Hindi language film featuring a queer relationship at the core of its narrative.
This live, free access and unticketed in conversation event will consider the overlapping contexts and histories that the film sits within and speaks to today.
Film curator Jonathan Ali will be joined by scholars Rini Bhattacharya Mehta and Rajinder Dudrah. Jason Jones will also bring his invaluable perspective as an activist working to overturn British colonial legal legacies that criminalise adult consensual same sex intimacy.
Discover Badnam Basti and an accompanying video introduction from filmmaker Prem Kapoor’s son Hariom in the 16th Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival Essential Cinema sidebar here.
Supported by the Goethe-Institut London
This event can be watched back here and on our twitch channel.
Live Event Participants:
Jonathan Ali is a film curator and writer based in London. He is director of programming for Third Horizon Film Festival in Miami, Florida, and is one half of the Twelve30 Collective, dedicated to screening Caribbean films in the UK.
Rini Bhattacharya Mehta is an associate professor of comparative and world literature at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is author of Unruly Cinema: History, Politics, and Bollywood and coeditor of Bollywood and Globalization: Indian Popular Cinema, Nation, and Diaspora.
Dr. Rajinder Dudrah is Professor of Cultural Studies and Creative Industries and Director of the Centre for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in the Arts (CEDIA) at Birmingham City University, UK. He has researched and published widely in film, media, and cultural studies.
Jason Jones is an LGBT+ human rights defender originally from Trinidad & Tobago and has lived and worked in Britain for over 30 years. He refers to himself as being “Tringlish” and as a person of colour. His activism in LGBT+ human rights spans 3 decades beginning as a student newly arrived to London, marching in the anti-Section 28 marches of 1988. He then returned to Trinidad in 1992, and was the founder of 2 LGBT+ advocacy organisations there one of which “I Am One” still is active today. In 1996, after being homophobically abused and disowned by his family, he returned to London and then joined the board of the Stonewall Immigration Group ( Now known as the United Kingdom Lesbian & Gay immigration Group) which won the right of abode in the UK for the overseas partner of an LGBT UK citizen (he and his then partner from Trinidad were one of 40 test cases at the Home Office which brought about this landmark win for BRITISH LGBT+ people!). This is the first pro-LGBT+ legislation in the UK post decriminalisation 30 years earlier. He has therefore assisted changing the laws of TWO Countries. On April 12 2018, he won a landmark legal challenge at the High Court of Trinidad and Tobago which decriminalised adult consensual same sex intimacy. This win guarantees freedom for nearly 100,000 Caribbean LGBT+ people and was cited twice in the LGBT+ decriminalisation victory in India. His historic case will be heard at the Privy Council in London to answer an appeal of his landmark victory from the Attorney General of T&T. This will be the first time in history that the Privy Council will hear an LGBT+ decriminalisation case and his victory there will assist decriminalisation in at least 10 other countries.