LAILA: Mai Aunty se tere liye baat nahi karungi. Cinderella Complex hai tereko.
I’m not going to talk to Aunty for you! Looks like you’ve got ‘Cinderella Complex’.
MANJU: Hatt. Tereko Gandhi Complex hai.
Shut up. You’ve got Gandhi Complex.
‘Beti Bachao’ EVS 1.1 project mein tumhe buri tara top karna thha aur mujhe nahi pata thha kuyn. Tumne kya kaha thha tab?
‘Save the girl-child’ EVS 1.1 project – you wanted to top that class badly and I couldn’t understand why. What did you say then?
Tumne kaha thha “Thoda waqt de do. Sab samajh mein aa jaaega.”
You said I should wait. A little time would solve everything.
Laila Manju is a 15-minute feel-good drama comedy film, set against the backdrop of the pandemic. The Pandemic is the straw that breaks the camel’s back, exposing the cracks in our relationships as everyone is forced to stay home.
Homes have become the new stage of our lives. Homecoming is an important part of Indian relationships. As Frédéric Martel writes:
“What gays frequently do in Asia is they ‘come home’: they bring their partners home, into their family, once they are a stable couple, and things are therefore known without being spoken. That is our way here of becoming gay. The Asian way.”– Frédéric Martel, Global Gay: How Gay Culture Is Changing the World
Laila Manju aims to talk about this Queer Homecoming, while we’re all home, and the choices people make.
Laila Manju is an emotionally riveting short film about the universal Coming Out Conundrum and how it’s different for the Indian queer.
Amongst the myriad stories of queer suffering, Laila Manju is a feel-good comedy aiming to redefine the changing landscape for Coming Out as a more standard part of human experiences. It ventures into life after falling in love, and tries to understand how a queer couple navigates life’s milestones. At its heart however, Laila Manju is a mother-daughter story and a story of acceptance.
Laila and Manju have been going out since forever, but Manju’s mother, Poornima, has only just learned about it. After an absurd combination of FOMO, identity crisis and alienation, Poornima worries that her daughter may not be ‘normal’. Was this a result of her laissez faire parenting? Or had the world moved on without her?
Held back by her Maa-ka-pyaar, but also kind of propelled by it, Poornima plays the ultimate Maa card: emotional blackmail. Manju must give up Laila. But as the country goes into lockdown, Laila and Manju are separated, and Manju has nowhere to go.
COST BREAK UP
As an initiative for our community, we have brought together our allies, friends and queer artists, who have created a special catalogue of art work around the themes of freedom, nostalgia, healing, acceptance, queer love, ranging from posters, photographs, embroidery and more. You can find them at Laila-Manju.com. We hope your purchases will brighten your home and workspaces. All the proceeds will go into making the film. All efforts are warmly held and appreciated. Please help us spread the word by sharing this with your friends and family.
THE LAILA MANJU TEAM
Our journey has been ages in the making. Our script went through the rounds of the Kashish Q Drishti film grant and made it to the top five.
This is a passion project, begun with the yearning on the part of the creators to have a queer story with a happy ending told, to have queer characters represented in the capacities of real lives and stories.
From our direction team to our creative tech team, we have one single goal: to tell a good story and to tell it well.
Our team has been supported so far by CoLaboratory.
CoLaboratory is a collective of artists and problem-solvers. They aspire to create a community safe space that taps into the potential of creative collaborations and facilitates the gap between the creators, resources and the audience. While they started off as an alternate performing arts venue in Delhi NCR, today Colab finds itself providing creative solutions to ethical businesses, engaging with social impact related campaigning and advocacy work and creating disruptive digital content. They envision a fearless & inclusive culture that inspires a more empathetic and aesthetic world.
For more details on our team and our journey please visit laila-manju.com.
How will your money be used?
Your money will be used in making the film look and sound polished and competitive, that is in our production costs towards sound and cinematography. It will also be part of the money going into following responsible COVID-19 protocol.
We also want to pay for the art inside the film for the realisation of the character of the ‘Sprite’ (Manju’s creative muse) in the Indian folk style of Mithila tradition.
How does crowdfunding work?
Crowdfunding in India is a relatively new concept & is growing very quickly.
It’s a concept that allows a large number of funders (like you) to fund an idea or a cause or event by giving small amounts of money online. Fueladream.com is a crowdfunding platform in India that allows for such pooling of funds. You can fund innovations & ideas on FuelADream and be the first to get these products or make them come true. You can also do a good turn by funding charities and causes through crowdfunding. When you fund a charity it’s more like a donation & you get small innovative rewards like a shout-out on an FB page or a thank you email from the beneficiaries.