December 2016

Page 18


TO HEL words tanushree pillai Escaping Agra dir. Pallavi Somusetty

Imagine a world


BACK Naveen and partner Madi kiss outside on a sunny afternoon (photo by: Pallavi Somusetty/Escaping Agra)

Below: Director Pallavi Somusetty films Naveen and Madi at their home in Davis, California (photo by: Vanessa Walker/Escaping Agra)

in which your parents send you back to your country, hold you prisoner in your own home and then confiscate your passport. You have no phone, no Internet and none of your friends know where you have disappeared to. The reason? Your parents refuse to accept your choice to identify as non-binary (neither male nor female), because for them, you were born female and that is how it should be. Now imagine having to go to court to fight for your own freedom and and a chance to go back to college and reclaim your identity. Escaping Agra is a documentary film that follows the life of Naveen Bhat as they battle with their family to get back to the U.S, where they are currently studying. (Naveen's gender pronouns are they/them and he/him.) I sat down with director Pallavi Somusetty, to find out more about her film.