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Zara Nazar Utha Ke Dekho preview: Exploring the dynamics of cruising for sex

Director Anindya Shankar Das depicts the covert nature of cruising for sex through personal stories from the LGBTQ community.

Suparna Thombare

Zara Nazar Utha Ke Dekho begins with the question 'Where do you look for people to have sex with?' Finding same sex love isn't the easiest in India. With the social taboo attached and few avenues available, many from the LGBTQ [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer] community struggle to find someone to connect to. Well, sometimes your partner could be hiding in plain sight and in crowded places. If only you look!

In this documentary, director Anindya Shankar Das explores the covert nature of cruising for sex (the process of searching in public places for sexual partners) as a common way of finding sexual or romantic partners within the LGBTQ community in India.

The film juxtaposes personal narratives of cruising from the community against visuals of public spaces like parks, railway stations, cinema halls and toilets, while exploring the various facets and complexities of urban cruising.

Anonymous male respondents introduce a world that is not talked about much, and through them the importance of public spaces in finding a sexual partner. As one of the men points out, "Public places cut down a lot of borders that we otherwise have in society."

A direction graduate from the FTII [Film and Television Institute of India], Das, explores the culture of cruising by picking up on the signs, and connecting to the vibe of a person in the crowd as a crucial part.

Zara Nazar Utha Ke Dekho also compares the experience to that of online dating. "Cruising is about connecting with someone’s vibe. If I saw them again on Grindr, I might not want to connect with them," says one man.

Filmed in Mumbai, Kolkata and Delhi, the documentary brings to life a different consciousness about urban public spaces and makes you view them in a new light.  

Zara Nazar Utha Ke Dekho will be screened at the Open Frame Film Festival 2018 at the India International Centre, New Delhi, on 16 September at 2:30pm.


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Open Frame Film Festival