PROJECT BOLO – meaning ‘Project Speak Up’ – a collection of oral histories of Indian LGBT persons.
Rating – 3/5
Tags – Documentary | IndianQueerMovementHistory
This documentary is in the form of interviews of Indian queer people who were some of the firsts to start mobilizing the queer movement. They give a nice overview of the beginning of the queer movement in India during the 90s and their own contributions to the same.
The main objective of Project Bolo is ’empowerment of LGBT community in India, by presenting video interviews of LGBT persons and role models, who ‘speak up’ about their life and work’. The interviews consist of 20 LGBT persons from 4 different cities who give some personal+social experiences with respect to the Indian LGBT movement.
The audience gets a decent idea about how in the first place there was a lack of the terms and terminologies with respect to queer sexuality. Then there was hardly anyone around to “speak up” about these things or there was no technological advancement to connect to people at a far geographical distance. It was certainly a very difficult and suffocating lifestyle these people had to live during their adulthood.
Actually, this movie is editing of separate, individual interviews taken of all the people. These individual interviews of 20-30mins each are also available to watch on YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL06AA2B8007B7587B
According to me what the entire documentary lacked was a “structure”. It looked more like a haphazard way to try to narrate the history. At the end of it – there was no significant, pin-pointed takeaway for the audience.
For instance, there was a brief talk in between about how different magazines – like BombayDost, Sakhi, Trikon etc were started. I wish there was more talk on it – how it went, what was the agenda of the magazines, how it helped the readers etc. Similarly, lots of such key incidences come up during the entire short but are just superficially touched upon
There was a significant lack in the depth of the information provided to the audience. I wish there was some chronological presentation of the events that were narrated by the interviewees so that as an audience one gets a clear idea of what is being discussed.
I think perhaps watching the individual interviews of these people would give a better insight into the history.
Watch this short film with subtitles at YouTube: