Homophobia is a huge issue in India. And like every other issue, the Indian public can only be made comfortable with taboo subjects like these through one medium – films! Writers have tried their best to make the general populace see reason. This has only resulted in a ban on their works – the best go-to solution for any issue in India. But when a film actor is addressing the same issue on the big screen, fans are drawn, they want to listen, and they agree with their favorite stars. Yet, homosexuality continues to be a topic best avoided in Indian cinema even today. Last week’s release, Aligarh, was given an A certification, simply for its homosexual content.
Some Indian filmmakers have tried to address the issue seriously. Most of these films have not been very well-received in the country- some were not even screened in cinemas, though they have won international awards. Here’s a list of progressive LGBT movies in Indian cinema:
This movie is loosely based on a short story by Ismat Chughtai. Writer and director Deepa Mehta has discussed issues such as homosexuality and a woman’s sexual freedom explicitly in the movie. Naturally, the movie did not go down too well with the fanatic political groups of India, who staged protests to ban the movie.
Based on the poems by R. Raj Rao, this 12-minute short film had an explicit gay sex scene. The movie has six vignettes, throwing light on the misrepresentation of homosexuals’ identity in the country. It was banned shortly after its release.
The Pink Mirror
Also called Gulaabi Aaina, the movie started off as a comedy, ending with tragedy. An ideal watch for the regular film-going audience, only if it hadn’t been banned for its homosexual content. Additionally, the film explored the life of transsexuals in India.
Adapted from director Mahesh Dattani‘s play On a Muggy Night in Mumbai, the movie offers an insight into the closeted gay culture in India. A comedy with lots of twists, the film managed to avoid any serious controversy.
Memories in March
The movie explores a mother’s journey from learning the news about her son’s death, to the shocking discovery about his sexual orientation to finally, acceptance.
My Brother Nikhil
The movie discussed the taboo subject of AIDS. Based on a real story, MBN threw light upon stereotypes related to people with AIDS. The movie was well-received worldwide, getting praise, especially for Juhi Chawla‘s performance.
This movie consisted of four short films directed by prominent personalities in Bollywood. The first of the four films narrated the tale of a young homosexual man trying to lead a normal life, devoid of stereotypes, and a woman, who is trapped in a loveless marriage, and discovers that her husband is a closeted homosexual.
This list does not include movies that show the LGBT community as funny, absurd, overly horny or feminine, freaky, or distasteful. These terrible stereotypes are simply aggravating the negative portrayal of this community in both Bollywood and society, and need to be done away with now.
– By Delnaz Divecha