Desire?

Experiences with being asexual in India- 'Desire?'
lays bare the lived realities of the minority
community that identifies as asexual in a sexually
conservative Indian society. The camera traces the
journeys of individuals from different parts of India, how their loves, lives, and relationships swirl in the
endless conundrum of identity, subverting the
narrative of normative sexuality.

In a country like India where expression of
sexuality is regimentalised to an extent that it is
seen as profane and immoral, it could be assumed
that asexuals lead an easier life, but in India sex
remains as much a taboo as the lack of interest in
it. Through a collage of intimate stories, ‘Desire?’
opens up a dialogue about relationships which do
not stand on the edifice of Sex and Sexuality,
existing as a minority community within an already
persecuted LGBTQIA minority community. The
parallel narratives take you through each
characters’ world as they navigate through life
creating small ruptures within a culture of universal
hypersexuality.

  • Garima Kaul
    Director
  • Garima Kaul
    Writer
  • Public Service Broadcasting Trust, India (PSBT)
    Producer
  • Project Type:
    Documentary
  • Runtime:
    28 minutes 36 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    September 23, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    2,500 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    India
  • Country of Filming:
    India
  • Language:
    English, Hindi
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital
  • Aspect Ratio:
    16:9
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    Yes
  • Student Project:
    No
Director Biography - Garima Kaul

Garima Kaul, a Mumbai based filmmaker, is a writer, director who started her filmmaking journey with a Student Documentary on Sanitation Workers in Mumbai, which won multiple accolades for showcasing the lackadaisical workings of the Bombay Municipal Corporation and their unjust treatment of the workers. Gender identity, politics, and sexual expression have been a focal point of her work, both in research writing and filmmaking. Her thesis film was a documentary on the sex workers of Kamathipura, which was once Asia's largest "Red Light" district. Born in a Kashmiri Migrant family based in Delhi, she completed her graduation in Literature from University of Delhi and later went on to complete her Master's Degree in Media and Cultural Studies from Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), where her key area of research was the impact of migration on language, literature and the socio-cultural fabric of a community. Currently, she is working with the Times Television Network as a Programme Coordinator.
Her First Independent documentary as a Director, "Desire?" navigates through the lives and realities of Asexual individuals living in a hypersexual society.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

Asexuality, a non-normative sexual orientation, or a lack thereof, has still not found any
representation in the mainstream Indian discourse. Asexual individuals are often pathologised
and looked at as impotent, genetically affected, or hormonally imbalanced by the medical
community, thereby terming them diseased or abnormal.
Within the context of a country which bases itself on the socio-cultural edifice of matrimony,
progeny and family, asexual individuals are not able to find their voices. ”Desire?” lays bare the
lived realities of these individuals crumbling under societal pressure to have intercourse or get
married, often resulting in sexual, physical or mental abuse.
What drew me to this project was how this community exists as a microcosm within the larger
vortex of hypersexuality, where most of our social connections are tangled within the culture of
sexuality. It became important to me to question the sincere belief that all Humans are Sexual
beings, and I chose to do this by bringing to fore the stories of people who navigate through life
questioning the very episteme of Human Sexuality. Their lack of sexual desire or the urge to act
upon it often leads them to be considered as perverted, heartless and frigid amongst peers in all
social interactions, perpetually isolating them from the society.
It was important for me to exhibit through the narrative the ubiquitous nature of sexual imagery,
and the mental associations we predominantly form even in scenarios that are not sexual in
nature. This coupled with my desire to keep the audience engaged on an aesthetic level, I found
myself creating a parallel narrative of sexual symbolism which stands in contrast to the
experiences of the characters.
“Desire?” attempts to burst the myths around asexuality and create a more empathetic and
accepting environment for asexual individuals through their own stories of how they are very
much capable of love, affection and romantic relationships.