“I am what I am. So take me as I am. No one can escape from their individuality.” – CJI Dipak Misra, 6th September 2018
Homosexuality is not openly discussed in India. One of the most effective channels to talk about it is films. Movies that have depicted homosexuality have usually faced bans unless done inconspicuously like in Kapoor & Sons or in a caricature-like way in Dostana. Very few Indian filmmakers have tried to address the issue of homophobia seriously. Most of their films have not been very well-received in the country and some were not even screened in cinemas, though they have won international awards. Here’s a list of progressive LGBTQ movies in Indian cinema you must watch to really understand the struggle of being different from the “regular”:
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. 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 starts off as a comedy and ends with a 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, My Brother Nikhil shed light on 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, till she discovers that her husband is a closeted homosexual.
The Hansal Mehta film was based on a true story of Professor Ramchandra Siras, who was suspended from Aligarh University on grounds of morality when a few men barged into his house and found him having consensual sex with another adult man.
The upcoming film Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga seemingly takes an LGBT turn when the central character played by Sonam Kapoor appears to be a lesbian. We could be wrong but if you take a look at this trailer, you might agree with us: