REWRITING THE SCRIPT: A LOVE LETTER TO OUR FAMILIES
Canada / 2001 / 46 min / English / Documentary
Director: Friday Night Productions
Cast: Shyam Selvadurai, Meera Dhebar, Rupert Raj
The Skinny: South Asian Queers Flip the Script
Plato Score: B
When you think of gay South Asians on the big screen, how many come to mind? Like, zero? Anything more than that and kudos to you—but let’s just throw down the term ‘dearth’ here, shall we?
And so, with this in mind, a group of like-minded activists at the turn of the millennium thought it was high tide to do something about it. Rewriting the Script portrays very candid interviews between parents and their LGBT adult children as they recount their coming out stories and issues with being queer.
While painfully lo-fi, the doc comes off as educational fare for 1st graders or clueless adults. Yet despite this it remains immensely compelling and easy to get drawn in to each person’s story and the challenges they face.
There’s Meera: quite adorable and affable as she recounts her coming out as a lesbian with her mom. While Shyam, a Lambda Award-winning novelist, reminisces about growing up as a ‘sensitive’ boy with his super-accepting Sri Lankan mom. And then there’s Rupert, a trans man who details his struggles with gender identity and how that played out with his family.
If queer South Asians are a rarity in the media, then open and accepting South Asian family members might as well be snow leopards. The progressive and open-minded parents here are a breath of fresh air. Yet it’s not all roses: interviewees broach the topic of suicide, excommunication and pervasive fear which lie not far afield.
Yet Rewriting the Script offers hope. And we have this film collective to thank for shining a light on LGBT souls who are out there in plain sight.