10 June 2004 | DPennSOBE
Who knew there were gay Muslims?
I had the opportunity to view "Touch of Pink" as a special showing to members of the Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival community this week. The director, Ian Iqbal Rashid, was present and provided a wonderful Q&A following the showing.
The film is "low budget" - just how low is low? The director wouldn't say (a provision in his contract with Sony, apparently). Frankly, I have seen many big budget films that delivered much, much less. The fact that the director also wrote the screenplay and the lyrics to the original compositions shows his devotion to delivering this film. From concept to screen took him 11 years!
Several facts speak for themselves: 1. The audience reacted very favorably to this film at Sundance, and at the screening I attended, 2. It has been picked up by several major Lesbian & Gay Film Festivals for prime opening or closing night slots and 3. It is scheduled for release by Sony Pictures in July. This is not your run of the mill film festival film! Most films come to the film festival circuit LOOKING for a distributor.
One could easily say the premise has been overdone (i.e., homophobic mother/gay son/coming out angst story). For me, however, this film had unique twists that made it anything but trite. A gay, Indian Muslim from Canada living in London and forced to confront his own and his family's, homophobia isn't something I've ever witnessed before. Kyle MachLachlan as Cary Grant (a make believe friend of the main character, Alim) is a sight to behold. The acting is generally superb; the timing of the lines perfect. Throw in enticing sets and wonderful costuming and you've got magic going on.
At a time when we in the West are confronted daily with images of the "evil" radical fundamentalist Muslim world, I believe this film serves yet another purpose. It shows the humanity of Muslims, and I'm certain this image is much more realistic than the one we see repeated ad nausea on CNN. Dealing with homophobia is a common denominator: Maybe we have more in common with the vast majority of Muslims than we have been lead to believe. One leaves with a sense of optimism (if Alim can survive this mess with such cultural obstacles, maybe there is hope for the kid in the Midwest from a fundamentalist Christian family). There is even an Indian distributor signed up, so maybe an even greater impact will be made in the Muslim world.
As one audience member put it, "I like movies that make me think, make me laugh and make me cry...this did all three." I couldn't agree more. This is a must see!