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A very special film has been all the rage this year at the Toronto Film Festival and has obtained the Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema Award for Best Asian Film. Margarita with a Straw has been rightly called one of the strongest independent films India has produced in recent years. 

Margarita With a Straw hails from the talent of Shonali Bose, the film maker who was highly acclaimed for intense dramas, such as Amu and Chittagong. Her new film might be gathering attention partly because it explores topics that are rare to Indian cinema, such as disability or homosexuality. Nonetheless, the value of the film, which is Bose's most intensely personal project, starring Kalki Koechlin, lies well beyond its novelty.

It is the writer and director's (aka Bose's) rare creative poise and humor that give her story a mature hue that is unique to films in India and around the world exploring similar topics, the last one I remember briefly and successfully exploring disability and sexuality being Babel (2006) by Gonzalez Iñarritu.

Margarita with a Straw tells the story of  Laila (Kalki Koechlin), a young, free-spirited girl with cerebral palsy who leaves India to study at New York University and discovers the joy of being in a same sex relationship as she gets involved with a fiery young activist, Khanum (Sayani Gupta) and embarks on a journey of self-discovery.

Shonali Bose's initial inspiration for the film originated from a conversation with her middle-aged cousin, Malini Chib, who has cerebral palsy and whose mother created ADAPT, one of India's most noted non-profit organizations working for Neuro-Muscular and Developmental Disabilities. It was this conversation which gave Bose insight into the need for all human beings, abled and disabled, to encounter the beauty of love and sex in their lives.  
Margarita with a Straw will be reaching Korean and British shores this month but will have to wait to reach India until early 2015. Meanwhile, enthusiastic supporters may attend World Cerebral Palsy Day on the 2nd of October 2014 from 4:30 p.m. onwards at the Bandra ADAPT center in Mumbai.

Read about Margarita with a Straw on Facebook
Read about ADAPT on Facebook or at the ADAPT Official Website

Directed by: Shonali Bose
Produced by: Shonali Bose and Nilesh Maniyar
Written by: Shonali Bose
Cast: Kalki Koechlin, Revathi, Sayani Gupta, Kuljeet Singh, Hussain Dalal, Malhar Khushu, Tenzin Dalha, Jacob Berger
Music by: Mickey Mc Clearey
Cinematography: Anne Misawa

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