The LGBT community in India is steadily gaining the limelight it deserves as our country recently celebrated the one year anniversary of the landmark Section 377 judgment. While we do still have a long way to go, the need for all kinds of love to be seen in the mainstream media is apparent. Bollywood hasn’t always been successful when it comes to that kind of representation. However, we do still have classic as well as modern LGBT movies in Bollywood that really recognize these individuals as more than a caricature. Here are the most notable Bollywood LGBT movies that got representation right:
This classic Deepa Mehta film was notably way ahead of its time as it told the story of a lesbian relationship between two women trapped in loveless arranged marriages. Even when homosexuality wasn’t widely accepted in Indian culture, this film featured an honest and significant representation of LGBT characters.
My Brother…Nikhil (2005)
At a time when AIDS and homosexuality were considered taboo, this emotional drama tackled both these topics brilliantly. The film followed swimming champion Nikhil who was diagnosed with HIV and forced to come out. When he is kicked off his team and abandoned by his parents, there are only two people standing beside him – his sister and his lover, Nigel.
Kapoor & Sons (2015)
Even to this day, it is uncommon to see LGBT movies that are big Bollywood productions starring popular actors. Yet that’s exactly what this Shakun Batra film did, telling a sincere story about homosexuality. Kapoor and Sons is a familial drama about two brothers who return home to visit their ailing grandfather. As problems arise and emotions intensify, one of them comes out of the closet.
Margarita With A Straw (2014)
Kalki Koechlin has proven that she is a brilliant performer time and time again. In this film Shonali Bose film, she plays a teenager with cerebral palsy who meets and falls for a blind Pakistani woman. We see her discover her bisexuality while balancing her relationship with her mother. It’s honest, it’s raw, and brilliantly executed.
This film was based on the real-life tragic story of Prof. Ramchandra Siras from Aligarh Muslim University whose life was turned upside down when a video of him having sexual relations with another man went viral. The true-life drama starring Manoj Bajpayee was eye-opening as it showcased just how destructive and ruthless discrimination can be. The film was shrouded in controversy and even banned in the city of Aligarh.
Even though this big romantic blockbuster was packed with the traditional Bollywood song, dance, and melodrama, it touches unprecedented territory. It told a typical love story in a traditional way but it was uniquely about a queer couple. The film truly won in its intent to normalize how love transcends gender while it showed us a lesbian’s journey of loneliness, internalization of shame, and finally finding the courage to come out.
Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan (2020)
While these LGBT movies started the process of more inclusive storytelling in Bollywood, this is just the beginning. Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan is an upcoming film that is moving the conversation forward. Starring Ayushmann Khurrana and Jitendra Kumar in the lead roles, the film is a romantic comedy about the love story of these two actors. The film is set to release on February 21. Check out the trailer below and read more about the movie here.
Hurry and book your tickets for Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan now.