It's time to build
A NEW NORMAL,
where our films and TV includes
a wider spectrum of
identities & sexualities
from diverse backgrounds
and are given a presence
that is more
prismatic, nuanced & fluid
& told from a GAZE that isn't
& maybe then, over time, we can
stop looking at certain works
as just queer,
or just of the marginalised,
but simply HUMAN.
Varsha Panikar (They/Them)is a qpoc, non-binary writer, filmmaker, mixed-media and voice artist based out of India. Regardless of the medium, they like to do a bit of everything from branded advertising, independent audio-visual films, writing fiction and non-fiction to delving into the sphere of art, poetry, photography and performance. Their stylized narrative involves multidisciplinary practices where they like mixing poetic musings, archives with moving and still images and sound. They also work on branded content and have worked with brands like Kellogg’s, Gits, Universal Studios. Drawing inspiration from dreams, memories, magic realism, human behaviour and the innate need to understand the pattern's of one's existence, their themes range from slice of life, identity and gender, mental health, horror and erotica to the dichotomy of darkness and light, and seeks to redefine, reclaim and represent evolving perspectives and narratives through experimentation, re-imagination and collaboration.
Their latest visual-poetry, Bodies Of Desire which they wrote, voiced and co-directed, recently premiered on Nowness Asia, has been curated by GirlsInFilmand Nowness. It has been selected as one of the #FiveFilmsForFreedom 2021, an initiative by British Film Institute's LGBTQIA++ festival BFI Flare and British Council, that champions five films each year in support of LGBTIQIA+ and showcase the film in over 200 countries and principalities in various languages. The film has been officially selected at 22 festivals so far, including BFI Flare, Berlin Commercials (Germany), Toronto Queer Film Festival, Queer Womxn Fest (London), Melanin Pride Festival (US), Indian Film Festival of Melbourne (Australia), Chennai International Queer Film Festival (India) & 9th Internations Poetry Film Festival (Greece) to name a few. You may visit the film's official page HERE.
False Promises, another spoken-word film, which they wrote and voiced just released on 29th Oct 2020 and has been curated by Homegrown. Their debut Music Video - Maya featuring Coshish was listed in the top 10 Music Videos by Rolling Stones. They occasionally collaborate with their long time colleague and co-director Saad Nawab on branded and commercial content. You may see their work HERE.
You can read Varsha's latest essay "Labels, In a not-so-perfect world" - on why labels matter in the discourse around gender, identity and self-expression on The Lipstick Politico. Their photo-poetry zine, ‘Whisperings To My Shadows’ was showcased at ‘Queer Futures Archives’ at Parramatta Riverside Theater, Sydney – as a part of ‘Burn All The Books That Call You The Unknown” exhibition - alongside their pieces from ‘Bodies Of Desire’ - their ongoing sketch-poetry series. "Daydream' from their series 'Dream Diary was published in the zine, 'The Dreamer Issue' by The Local Color Zine. Their work has been featured by Pinjratod. One of their poems was published by The Rights Collective together with guest editors South Asian Sisters Speak (SASS) in their 5th edition of Zine, titles 'Resilience' with. Their poems and artwork from the series Bodies Of Desire have been published in ‘Rogue – The Zine’, available on Amazon Kindle. They go by the pen-name ‘fromtheafterglow’ and regularly write other non-fiction and fiction pieces on their blog. Check out their blog and other published work HERE.
Varsha also moonlights as a voice-over artist for brands and enjoys collaborating their voice in and with art, photos, or videos, apart from performing Spoken-Word. They are currently working on ‘Origami Folds’, another piece of visual poetry, which explores themes of identity, representation, and commodification of beauty in the post-modern-globalised society and culture.