As Bollywood recently espied the release of Donno Y-Life is moment, the sequel of Donno Y Na Jane Kyun, the co-director of the Indo-Norwegian venture endeavor, Tonje Gjevjon shares her empiricism on the film project besides the audacious aspiration she holds as a queer individual. As the lady concedes how pivotal art, of any form, can be to proliferate recognition of issues of political importance, she also bellows her utmost worry for lack of equal rights, in India.
1. How do you find international cultural/art collaborations can contribute towards social causes like the LGBTQ human rights?
Film, music and art reflect and challenges society. We are all product of culture – and films like Dunno Y2 -Life is moment can change people’smind-set. Norway and India are very different when it comes to LGBTQ rights and therefore cultural expressions made in collaboration by Norwegian and Indian film producers reflect how same-sex issues are solved very differently in two different countries like India and Norway.
There are millions of LGBTQ people in India – this is a fact – and they are born this way. They are your brothers and sister with an attraction towards people of the same sex. Since when did love become a crime? India is a flavored nation- everybody knows this – and pictures, art, music has been very important too in the land. This film reveals the tenderness and beauty love is – and it reveals the struggle and pain LGBTQ people and their families have. We hope this film will open up peoples mind and make people understand that this Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that makes sex with persons of the same gender punishable by law actually destroys and split up families. 377 make whole families unhappy. When cultural collaboration are made – it often tends to make us more open minded – we learn from each other’s culture and then the horizon turns broader.
2. Was it too tough for you, as a non-Indian, to work for an Indian movie, which portrays same-gender love, which is a taboo in India?
It is a Norwegian-Indian film – we have collaborated about everything from script to postproduction. The fact that same gender love is taboo and legally forbidden in India was the main reason I wanted to be part of this pro
ject. I was also surprised that India actually still is practicing a law the British Empire made.
3. Are you hopeful towards the equal rights campaigns happening around the globe?
Yes and no. In some countries like Pakistan, Saudi Arabia it seems like it will take many decades to gain equal rights in terms of sexuality, where as in nations like India, there exists hope, with its flavored people spicy culture that can embrace love and let people love. Love has never been dangerous. I have lots of hope for the equal rights campaigns in India. And also I have hope for women’s rights in India- because I have seen on international news that people are reacting strongly on the sexual violence towards women.
4. Can you share your life, as a lesbian and your relationship/marriage?
I have been luckily married to Edith since year 2000. 15 years with the woman I love and treasure. Love makes you happy, and it made me a better person. I met Edith in Lesbian Bar named Fincken in Norway. The minute I looked into her eyes I fell in love – and my first thought was that this women is going to be my wife. Then after a year we married and now we have just celebrated 15 years of love and marriage. Every morning when I wake up and look at Edith I feel like the most lucky and happy person in the world. This feeling every human should have possibility to experience.
5. Do you think being born in the Scandinavia where same-gender love and relations are legally recognised as a privilege compared to the same back in India?
Yes of course we are privileged living in Scandinavia where same- gender love and marriage is legal by law. As a lesbian I don’t have to live my lesbian life in secret. My mother, brother and father lovemy wife- and me and they embrace our marriage. This is what family and parents should do- love their children for what they are. My parents want me to be happy- and they see that with Edith I am happy. This makes them happy. I hope for every LGBTQ person in India to experience the love and affection and freedom I have. I hope Indian Government understand that this law that makes love illegal is causing so much grief and pain for sisters and brothers in India. It’s not reasonable.
6. A few words about Donno Y Na Jane Kyun-2, Yuvraaj Parashar and Kapil Sharma:
I met Yuvraj, for the first time at Tel Aviv Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, where after we shared a special connection. Yuvraaj is a multi artist;he is producer, actor and dancer – a hard working man. When Yuvraaj does Kathak, I tend to cry as his performance is so beautiful and touching, which goes straight to my chakra/heart. He is kind of a equal rights seeker who respects all different sort of people from all over the world. Kapil Sharma is funny and always asksquestions to bring more knowledge to his bright mind besides being a brilliant actor. I have been to both Yuvraaj’s place in Mumbai and Kapil Sharma’s home and they are very generous and friendly. I am proud to be their friend and to have them as actors in Dunno Y2-Life is a moment.