Prosenjit Pal and Pawan Dhall were at the ‘Hang Out with KRPF’, a queer evening of arts and adda graciously hosted by Alliance Française du Bengale, Kolkata on December 2, 2016

Kolkata Rainbow Pride Festival (KRPF) organized a ‘Hang Out’ event, one of its most popular activities, in the run-up to this year’s ‘Kolkata Rainbow Pride Walk’. More than 100 people filled up the hall at the Park Mansion premises of Alliance Française du Bengale on Park Street – watching in rapt attention a queer themed film, sighing in appreciation to some sensuous poetry on kink, or boisterously cheering groovy dance performances.

The event was opened by Olivier Cassin, Deputy-Consul, Consulate General of France in Kolkata; Stéphane Amalir, Director, Alliance Française du Bengale; and Rudra Kishore Mandal of KRPF. Nishiddho Brotokatha, a feature film by Debgopal Mandal (in picture left) centred around the Bhadu folk art of Birbhum and neighbouring districts of West Bengal, was the main draw in the first half of the event.

The film is a sad but thought provoking and engagingly told story of a young trans woman, the central character, who lives in a village in Birbhum district. The tragic story of Goddess Bhadu’s love and loss provides a reference point for the film from folklore, while the dying art forms of Bhadu songs and dance performed by trans women in the Rarh Bangla region provides a contemporary backdrop to the film.

The film ends with the central character driven to suicide by stigma, discrimination and rape, but also imparts a quiet message that the tide will turn for people who have never had hope of finding unqualified love. Some members of the cast and crew of the film were present on the occasion and were provided a standing ovation (photograph below).

Post-refreshments, a number of performances were lined up. A few highlights: Satyaki Chakraborty engaged the audience with his singing (above), while Avijit Kundu (below) presented classical dance.

The trio of Pompi Banerjee, Shampa Das and Jia Mata (in that order from the left in picture below) did a pithy reading titled Monster Survival Skills during a Gremlin Outbreak.

Pompi Banerjee also upped the ante with some erotic elocution – sample these lines from towards the end of the poem Rough:

“I do not want gentle and loving. Let the primal desire take over.

Make my body crave for

you, your touch, your breath, your soft murmurs of sweet cruel nothing’s in my ear.

Make my body writhe in need.

I want to see the masculine in you, and the feminine in me.

I want to be helpless to you. Powerfully so.

Make me feel the heat. And the cold. Make me sob.

Pull back my hair and thrust in my mouth. My gag and gasps ignored.

Slap my face and call me a disgusting bitch.

I’ll look up at you with tear on my lashes and


Suchandra Ganguly (below, right) and Santanu Banerjee brought in a bit of the Bachata flavour!

Rudra Kishore Mandal (below, left) and Souvik Som of KRPF made for lovable ‘parental figures’, dedicatedly helming yet another one of KRPF’s memorable cultural events filled with talent, socializing and bonding.

The event seemed to provide the right momentum to the ‘Kolkata Rainbow Pride Walk 2016’ on December 11, 2016, possibly the best attended pride walk in Kolkata till date (report in the January issue of Varta).

Photo credits: Prosenjit Pal. Main artwork credit: Rudra Kishore Mandal