Representations play a vital role in breaking the stereotypes present around us. They help in curating and building conversations. Cinema is one such medium that can help us in creating a clear vision of life. However, only a very few people consider cinema under such a light, and Tushar Tyagi is one of them.
Recently, we had a conversation with Tushar Tyagi, a multiple award-winning filmmaker, producer, and entrepreneur. Through our discussion, Tushar walked us through the nuances of cinema and how they have a deep connection in building relationships. Tushar shared his perspectives on sex, sexuality, and relationship with us. Here is an excerpt of the interview we had with him.
What do you think about the representation of sex and sexuality in Indian cinema?
Independent filmmakers are making a lot of conscious efforts. They show expertise in giving the correct narrative to sex and sexuality.
Before the stepping in of OTTs, filmmakers and artists did not have the liberty of showing intimate scenes the way they wanted to show. OTT platforms give much more liberty to filmmakers to explore the intimate scenes the way they want to tell or see them in their vision.
Sexuality, however, often gets stereotyped. There are so many queer characters and movies in India and around the world. But, there are cases of straight people writing LGBTQI+ stories, having no experience of being from the community. Even in India, it happens, and it leads to stereotyping sexualities.
In your works like Behind the Woman’s Eye, you have focused on how a woman strives to find the true meaning of love in her life. How do you think people can re-kindle love and keep the fire alive in their relationships?
Love requires a lot of respect. Love is something that has to be a two-way street. Both partners need to understand that when they are required to be the stage for another partner to perform. And they have to know when the other partner needs to be the stage or platform for another one to perform.
It requires a lot of love, respect, and understanding. Everyone comes with their baggage, and we need to understand that and give respect and space. When it comes to keeping the fire alive in India, many people continue to shame it. There is a mentality where people after 45 have to fade out or extinguish the fire.
Through your short film ‘Saving Chintu’ you have focussed on emotional complexities confronted by a gay couple while adopting a child. So, how do you think we can support the LGBTQIA+ community in India?
Just by creating a safe ecosystem. We live in a country, and I might get into trouble for saying that, as a country, we have not created a safe ecosystem for people to be themselves. We have not created that space. People do not understand that this cosmos is so big that if we create space for LGBTQIA+ people to be comfortable, it is not taking the space of other people’s lives.
To create space, we need to do a lot of talking. We do not talk about it because many people are ashamed of it. But the more we talk about something, the more we create awareness. It just gets in the psyche that it is normal.
What is your hope for a sex-positive future in the country?
We come from the land of Kamasutra. We have so many beautiful statues predicting Kamasutra. In our Vedas, we talk about the Kama.
I think I want to live in a future, where it is a normal thing inside of a room. I just want to live in a space where talking about sex is normalized in society and guilt and shaming are not attached to it.
How do you think from a filmmaker’s perspective that we can overcome the lack of representation of sexual wellness in movies?
As a filmmaker, I like to tap into topics that have never been done before or done in a very stereotypical way. We need to make films that deal with these kinds of issues sensitively. This is yet another reason for me being a part of this workshop. So that I am aware of what is happening around me and what people are dealing with. I think talking about it sensitively will change a lot of things.
Now lines are getting very blurred. Even mainstream cinema is being released on OTT platforms. Lots of newcomers, people with a new perspective, fresh and bold visions are getting opportunities. In a couple of years, you will see a lot of things changing because millennials with a bold vision for what they stand for are coming unapologetically. They are getting opportunities and are making use of those. They are being the voice of today’s world in the most authentic way.
How can creators develop a better place for building conversations and developing relationships?
I think what you guys are doing is an initiative towards it. The conversation is the lifeline of everything. It is just we do not acknowledge it. We do not like to think or sit on it.
I think the best thing will be creating groups like these.
Now, you can just sit at your home and talk about your experience and vulnerabilities. You can listen to others too. It is just now everything is in front of our table, we just need to extend our hand.
Why would you like to be a part of the workshop ‘Light My Fire?’
It’s very different. I have never seen any concept like this coming from India. Being a filmmaker, I always look for stories, right? Things that I have not experienced or been a part of always attract me. There could be so many stories of what I understand, and there would be a lot of people who would be engaging in conversations, telling their stories. So, you do not know where inspiration might come from.
As a filmmaker, my entire purpose for being on this planet is to find inspiration, tell stories, and anything that can trigger inspiration. So, it is a great opportunity for me.
Here, you could hear so many life stories of people just directed towards one particular topic. There could be a lot of inspiration. So, yeah, I am very excited to be a part of it.
What is your message to our audience on Light My Fire?
If you guys have extinguished your fire consciously or unconsciously, we have to keep the fire alive till we live. And if you do not know how to do it, let us attend the session and figure this out. Some people might have extinguished their fire for years. Let us put some kerosene oil in it and blast it!
Register now and get ready to rekindle the fire in your relationship.