Gone are the days when Indian films and television would use the LGBT community as a comedic prop. Today, quite a few web series portray same-sex love in a thoughtful and nuanced manner. Here are our favourites.
‘The Married Woman’
Based on Manju Kapur’s book, A Married Woman, this Zee5-ALTBalaji series follows two women, Astha (Ridhi Dogra) and Peeplika (Monica Dogra) who discover that love happens when you least expect it. Astha is stuck in a bland marriage while the free-thinking Peepli has been newly widowed. A tragedy causes their paths to cross and they forge an instant, beautiful and effortless connection. Read our review of the series here.
Director: Sahir Raza
Cast: Ridhi Dogra, Monica Dogra, Suhaas Ahuja, Divya Seth, Nadir Babbar, Imaad Shah
Streaming on: Zee5 and AltBalaji
‘Romil and Jugal’
Ever wondered what the modern-day Romeo and Juliet would be like if they attended college together and were gay? Then you must check out ALTBalaji’s original Romil and Jugal. Set in a fictional Indian hill station Colwynganj, the story follows the sweet boy next door Jugal (Manraj Singh) who falls in love with his new, hunky neighbour Romil (Rajeev Siddhartha). Their love faces many obstacles including the homophobic residents of the Colywynganj, disapproving parents and Romil’s internalised homophobia. Unlike Shakespeare’s play though, this one ends on a happy note.
Director: Nupur Asthana
Cast: Rajeev Siddhartha, Manraj Singh, Mandira Bedi, Srishti Rindani, Suchitra Pillai
Streaming on: ALTBalaji
‘Made in Heaven’
Zoya Akhtar’s Made in Heaven follows Karan Mehra (Arjun Mathur) and Tara Khanna (Sobhita Dhulipala), two Delhi-based wedding planners who plan lavish and bespoke weddings while dealing with their respective tumultuous personal lives. Karan is a gay man who tries to get over the only man he’s ever loved, Nawab Khan (Vikrant Massey) by indulging in one-night stands. In one of the most poignant scenes in the series, his landlord Ramesh Gupta (Vinay Pathak), who outs him and has him arrested, later withdraws the charges. Gupta apologies as he explains his misguided actions towards Karan were a result of his inability to live his life as a gay man.
Creators: Zoya Akhta, Reema Kagti
Cast: Arjun Mathur, Sobhita Dhulipala, Vinay Pathak, Jim Sarbh, Kalki Koechlin, Shashank Arora
Streaming on: Amazon Prime
‘Four More Shots Please!’
Amazon Prime’s Indian original, which is an ode to friendship and sisterhood also gave us a fairytale romance between the gritty and grounded Umang Singh (Bani J) and the gorgeous Bollywood superstar Samara Kapoor (Lisa Ray). They have an adorable meet-cute at the gym which leads to more when Umang, a gym instructor, offers to train Samara for an upcoming action flick. The two (pictured above) engage in a sordid affair that seems doomed owing to Samara’s hesitation to come out. They weather several storms until Samara fully embraces her love for Umang and proposes marriage. Unfortunately, their differences aren’t enough to keep the relationship afloat and Umang leaves Samara at the altar. However, with season three on its way, we’re rooting for these two to find their way back to each other. Read our review of season two here.
Directors: Anu Menon, Nupur Asthana
Cast: Sayani Gupta, Kirti Kulhari, Maanvi Gagroo, Bani J, Lisa Ray, Prateik Babbar, Milind Soman
Streaming on: Amazon Prime
‘The ‘Other’ Love Story’
Everyone looks back on their first love with fondness. It’s sweet, naïve, hopeful and for most, unforgettable. The same holds true for Aadya (Spoorthi Gumaste) and Aanchal (Shweta Gupta). Set in the ’90s, the two girls start off a tentative friendship, then give in to their burgeoning attraction, embark on secret romance lest their families find out and find ways to be together when they’re caught. Great performances by the leads bolster this innocent story of first love.
Director: Roopa Rao
Cast: Spoorthi Gumaste, Shweta Gupta, Roopa Rao
Streaming on: YouTube