Experiencing Interruptions?

Breaking Free

Barbara Gittings International Human Rights Award, qFLIX Philadelphia, USA
National Award for Best Editing (non-fiction), Government of India

Filmmaker and gay activist Sridhar Rangayan embarks on a personal journey to expose the human rights violations faced by the LGBTQ community in India due to a draconian law Section 377 and homophobic social mores of a patriarchal society. The gritty documentary BREAKING FREE, shot over 7 years, features searing testimonies of gay and transgender persons who have been victimized or exploited, as well as wide-ranging interviews with advocates and activists across India. See-sawing between despair and joy, anguish and hope, the film is an emotional roller-coaster journey of the Indian LGBTQ movement - from invisibility to empowerment.

  • Sridhar Rangayan
    Purple Skies, 68 Pages, Yours Emotionally!, The Pink Mirror
  • Sridhar Rangayan
    Purple Skies, 68 Pages, Yours Emotionally!, The Pink Mirror
  • Saagar Gupta
    Purple Skies, 68 Pages, Yours Emotionally!, The Pink Mirror
  • Pravin Angre
  • Sridhar Rangayan
  • Subhransu Das
  • Madhu Apsara
  • Suresh Iyer
    Background Music
  • Saagar Gupta
  • Sridhar Rangayan
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Feature
  • Genres:
    LGBT, gay, transgender, lesbian, bisexual, queer, history, law, movement
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 22 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    February 1, 2015
  • Production Budget:
    15,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
    English, Hindi
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • 6th KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival, India
    Mumbai, India
    May 29, 2015
    World Premier
  • 27th Vancouver Queer Film Festival, Canada
    Vancouver, Canada
    August 18, 2015
    International Premiere
  • Scottish Queer Film Festival, UK
    Glasgow, Scotland, UK
    September 27, 2015
    European Premiere
  • Q Film Festival, Indonesia
    Jakarta, Indonesia
    September 14, 2015
  • Queen City Film Festival, USA

    October 3, 2015
  • QC International Pink Film Festival, Philippines
    Quezon City, Philippines
    October 7, 2015
  • Prague Indian Film Festival, Czech Republic
    Prague, Czech Republic
    October 9, 2015
  • Beijing Queer Film Festival, China
    Beijing, China
    October 12, 2015
  • International Film Festival of India, India
    Goa, India
    November 26, 2015
  • Durban Gay & Lesbian Film Festival
    South Africa
    August 16, 2016
  • qFLIX Philadelphia
    United States
    July 27, 2016
    Barbara Gittings Human Rights Award
  • Reel Desires LGBT Film Festival, Chennai, India
    July 27, 2016
Director Biography - Sridhar Rangayan

SRIDHAR RANGAYAN is an Indian filmmaker whose compelling films present hard-hitting social issues with warmth, compassion and humor. His award winning films The Pink Mirror, Yours Emotionally!, 68 Pages, Project Bolo, Purple Skies are at the forefront of India’s emergent queer cinema movement – ground-breaking in a country where homosexuality is still illegal . These films have screened at over 150 national and international film festivals; won several awards and received critical acclaim.
He has served as Teddy Jury at Berlinale, Germany (2010) and as Jury at Movies That Matter, Netherlands (2010), Outfest, Los Angeles (2012) and Iris Prize Festival, Wales (2013).
He is one of the Founder Trustees of The Humsafar Trust, one of the largest LGBT organizations in India, and served on its board for 19 years. He has been actively involved with championing for gay rights for the past two decades.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

India is world’s biggest democracy, and its Constitution guarantees eight fundamental rights to each citizen, including the Right To Equality - which includes equality before law, prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, gender or place of birth, and equality of opportunity in matters of employment.
But the Indian LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) community in India has been denied this fundamental right due to a colonial law Sec 377 which criminalizes alternative sexuality. This law has been the reason that LGBT persons have been victimized and pushed underground.
I was keen to bring to light their issues and talk about the basic human rights that they are struggling. Over a period of 7 years I traveled to different cities in India documenting testimonies, interviews and events. Breaking Free offers an insider perspective to how such a law impedes the basic growth and well-being of millions of individuals in India.
Without trying to sensationalize or instigate, or target any one person or community or political party, in Breaking Free I have tried to offer a realistic portrait with a balanced view.
While the first half of the film talks about the violence and discrimination faced by LGBT persons, in the second half of the film Breaking Free talks about the journey towards acceptance of LGBT persons by the social mainstream.
Apart from providing a visual documentation of the Indian LGBT movement, the film offers hope to youngsters that a life of equality and dignity is very much possible if they can be truthful to themselves and stand up for their rights.
The film makes a point that the colonial law Sec 377 needs to be read down so that basic rights of equality and dignity that is guaranteed by the Constitution is made available to LGBT persons too. It is not a film about just LGBT rights, but about a community waiting for the much needed Social Justice and Acceptance.