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Swara, Divya Starrer Sheer Qorma Wins Best Short Film, Qualifies for BAFTA

'Sheer Qorma' is an LGBTQIA+ drama following Swara Bhaskar and Divya Dutta's characters on a path of acceptance.

Updated
Indian Cinema
2 min read
<div class="paragraphs"><p>Poster of <em>Sheer Qorma&nbsp;</em>featuring Divya Dutta and Swara Bhaskar</p></div>
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Sheer Qorma, starring Swara Bhaskar, Divya Dutta, and Shabana Azmi, has been awarded the Best Short Film Audience Award at the Frameline Fest. The LGBTQIA+ drama has also qualified for the BAFTA this year.

The film narrates the story of love and acceptance. A queer woman, Sitara (Swara Bhaskar) and a non-binary person Saira (Divya Dutta) travel back to India to meet Saira's family, after years of separation. Shabana Azmi plays Saira's mother who doesn't accept their relationship, and the film goes on the explore this journey of acceptance and identity.

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Sheer Qorma's showcase at the BAFTA Qualifying Frameline was its world premiere. The film has been written and directed by Faraz Arif Ansari, famous for their film Sisak. Ansari, in an interview with Vice India opened up about the reason for making films like Sisak and Sheer Qorma.

They recalled that their mother teared up during Sisak but they haven't spoken about the film or his sexuality since. Sisak is a silent film which is the story of two gay men who meet in the local train but can't bring themselves to talk to each other.

"That's why I made Sheer Qorma, which is a story of how queer children struggle with acceptance and being loved. I feel like cinema has forgotten how to show love. We're worried about plotlines and how to sell it. But I just want to know how many lives my work is going to change."
Faraz Arif Ansari, Filmmaker

Talking about their first clear contact with homophobia, Ansari recalls that they approached several Bollywood production houses with a queer film they'd written titled Ravivar, about a Prime Minister's son being gay.

"It's a satire, a comedy, political, and pathbreaking, and I took it to every production house worth their weight in salt. They all said it's beautiful, but sorry. And that's when I realised, for the first time, that I’m dealing with a big monster called homophobia," Ansari told Vice.

"It’s so internalised that all those blue-eyed dreams of making the big Bollywood gay film died that day. Over the last few years, I've died like that many times."

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