Geja Poeto: Mother Hoshang

A statement by Hoshang Merchant during the screening of the film Geja Poeto: Mother Hoshang in the Hyderabad’i’ Documentary and Short Film Festival, Hyderabad, Bhaskara Auditorium, B.M. Birla Science Center, Adarshnagar, Hyderabad, 20 March 2005

Kathy and HoshangMy student, Kathy Maloney, has made this short film on me. It has two titles: Geja Poeto, meaning Gay Poet in Esperanto, the international language; and the subtitle, Mother Hoshang -- Mother because I, a gay man, identify with my mother's softer virtues than my own father's male chauvinism.

I did not make the film. I merely made my time available to Kathy on a few days while she followed me around with a Handycam. On certain days, she 'forgot' the mike, so there's no sound, and music fills in the silence.

She wanted the film to be self-reflexive and I, as a teacher of Western Literature, provided whatever touches I could. There was no script; only improvisation.

Being gay is serious business but one always has to look at oneself with a touch of humour. Kathy wanted to show that not all Indian gays are oppressed. This is fair becaŭuse there is no monolithic 'Homosexuality' or 'Heterosexuality'. Instead, we speak of 'homosexualities' (in the plural), of which mine is just one example.

The poet and the hunkThe editing is done by Anjih Reddy at Sequence, Panjagutta, here in Hyderabad. He is brilliant. The music is Kathy's. She too is brilliant. The nude is not a body-double. It is indeed me. I needed a metaphor for total honesty showing through all the gay 'camp'! The sad fact about all human beings is that there is no fixed identity. Identity is in flux and is a social construction.

I am interested in this short autobiographical film as Gay Literature. There is no Indian Gay Theory yet. I hope a new Gay Theory in India will emerge from new autobiographies by our gays.

Hoshang Merchant

Copies (DVD) of Geja Poeto: Mother Hoshang can be obtained from Kathy Maloney --