A Kannada film helmed and produced by women has won the Best LGBTQI+ Film Award at the 16th Tasveer South Asian Film Festival in Seattle, America, which was held from October 1 to 16. The film called 'Naanu Ladies' chronicles the struggles of two young women in love, the challenges they face as a non-heteronormative couple in a conservative society and living a middle class life otherwise.
The stellar crew for the film is unusually dominated by women, from Producer Harini Daddala, writer, director & actor Shailaja Padindala, DOP Chehek Bilgi, Second Unit DOP Komal Khiani and Actors Medini Kelamane and Pallavi Chander. The film was produced and released under the banner of JLT films. Shailaja and Medini play the titular protagonists, the traditional Padma and the rebellious and unconventional Anita whose journey through love also explores concepts of parenthood and gender noms.
Director Shailaja says the film is shaped by her own experiences which she has tried to depict as humorously as possible.
"In Indian cinema, more often than not, queer subjects are not treated with the sensitivity they require and border on homophobia or derogatory comedy. As a queer filmmaker, it is my responsibility to showcase stories from the community in the right light and sensitize society about the importance of inclusivity and treating everyone as equal," she said while speaking to ANI.
JLT Films is focused on such non-traditional narratives, especially from independent filmmakers and members of the LGBTQI+ community. Producer Harini Daddala has also emphasised that the aim of the production house, which started in 2015, is to emphasise on equal representation across all types of people in all spheres of life, with focus on realism and nuance.
The crew are also in talks to release the film on OTT platforms, hopefully by December.