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Bollywood against homophobia: LGBT films have finally been welcomed by Indian audiences

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Growing up in a Pakistani family, I remember as a kid watching a Bollywood movie with the family members, as soon as a kiss or an intimate scene appeared, everyone kind of went into embarrassing panic And we rushed to continue the scene, considering illegal From all kinds of audiences. Despite the large number of films made each year (almost a thousand!), producers and directors looking for new stories have a limit: they cannot touch certain issues such as religion And Homosexuality.

The first time that Bollywood He dealt with the issue of homosexuality with the most important actors Kahn 1998 Film directed by Deepa MehtaAnd shooting, A love story between two women translated by two legends of artistic cinema at the time: Shabana Azmy And Nandita Das.

The movie was shown for the first time November 13, 1998But a week later, a group of regional political party supporters appeared Marathi Right-wing Hindu nationalist, “Chef Saynk”They stormed a movie theater on the outskirts of Mumbai, smashing glass, burning posters, and chanting slogans. They forced the managers to Return tickets to spectators. The next day, another Regal Cinemas in Delhi where this film was shown was broken into.

One protester explained the reason behind their actions by saying: “If a woman’s physical needs are met through homosexual acts, the institution of marriage will collapse, Human growth will stopAfter these events, producers and distributors took a step back in relation to films on this topic. Only small production films were left, which were made for audiences of foreign festivals.

Since September 6, 2018, homosexuality in India is no longer considered a crimeThanks to the repeal of the 1861 Act criminalizing anal sex for both heterosexuals and homosexuals under Section 377 of the British Colonial Criminal Code. The large Indian film industry has been looking to repeal the law for same-sex love stories. Previously the producers were so cautious about making films on the topic that they were then banned by Indian censors, causing huge economic damage.

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Over the past four years, there have been many changes in Indian cinema: Big names began to play the main roles in films. This change is noteworthy because prior to the repeal of the law that discriminated against the LGBTQIA community, only lesser known actors played gay roles in some comedies or even negatively parodies. Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga (How did I feel when I saw that girl) It was the first film after Section 377 was lifted to talk about love between two women.

The film tells the story of an unspoken lesbian girl, Sweety Choudhury – played by her Sonam Kapoor A very popular movie star among young adults, Bollywood actress at the Cannes Film Festival – and her attempts to connect with her traditional and conservative family. The film was a huge success in India.

Nowadays, Bollywood movies “Homosexuality” It captures a lot of attention and above all public appreciation across the subcontinent, even in countries where anti-homosexuality is still in force, such as Pakistan and the Bangladesh.

Maybe the right way is Involve established and respected actors in these films of people He could reduce the gravity of the situation with a hint of lightness: this would preserve the characteristics of Bollywood – full of romance, music and colorful clothes, an atmosphere that makes you dream but at the same time leaves its main message, being aware of the change in society before which people have always shown themselves to be hostile and harassed. . platforms like Netflix And amazon prime, Realizing the great change that is taking place, they came forward and started producing several TV series and movies on this topic, making their contributions.

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India is one of the countries of the Indian subcontinent where gay pride About ten years ago: The struggle to “normalize” same-sex relations in Indian society is still a long one, but it’s a good start from a cinematic point of view. One of the best feature films Over the past few years that have made an impact on the society of the subcontinent, I would like to mention these:

Badhaai Do (Congratulations on merit) [2022]: Shardol Thakur and his wife Suman Singh conclude a marriage of convenience, but chaos reigns when the wife’s unruly girlfriend comes to stay with them.

cobalt blue [2022]: When a brother and sister fall in love with the same man, the events that follow shatter a traditional Marathi family. Based on the novel by Sachin Kundalkar.

Shobh Mangal safdan (Watch out for marriage) [2020]: The road to a happy ending is a bit difficult for the boys Kartik and Aman. While Aman’s family struggles to fight his love for Kartik, Kartik is not ready to hold back until he marries Aman.

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