For the longest time, the Hindi film industry, especially the mainstream circuit, portrayed members of the LGBTQ+ community as caricatures or deviants who had no place in polite society. Not only were queer characters hard to come by in Hindi cinema, the few that did make it were subjects of malicious humour. A mere Bobby Darling became a full on representation of the community. However, in the past few years, there has been a slow but steady change in the way Bollywood portrays queer people and queer relationships. For the first time, we’ve seen mainstream “A-list” actors like Ayushmann Khurrana and Sonam Kapoor Ahuja star in queer-themed movies on the silver screen. While there is still a long, long way to go, we have to give credit where its due. And as we in Man’s Life celebrate Pride month, w have compiled a list of LGBTQ+ themed movies that broke barriers for a new dawn.
The poster boy of content-driven cinema, Ayushmann Khurrana took a bold step when he chose to put his muscle behind a movie that portrayed a beautiful gay relationship. It also featured and hence, aimed to normalise two men kissing on screen. The film’s story and screenplay were weak but it deserves merit because they made romance between two a masala and commercial affair, a first for Bollywood.
Starring Sonam Kapoor Ahuja and Anil Kapoor in the lead roles, the movie gave space to lesbian relationships on the silver screen, something which has always either been fetishised or ignored. That’s not all – the film was also written by Gazal Dhaliwal who is a member of the transgender community.
While the main plot of the story was not based on queer relationships, it featured a lead character trying to come to terms with his sexuality. For a production house like Dharma Productions and an actor like Fawad Khan to take this step was a huge deal at the time it was released.
One of the finest films to see the light in the past decade, Aligarh featured the real-life story of the late Dr Shrinivas Ramchandra Siras, a gay professor at Aligarh Muslim University who had to face innumerable humiliations due to his sexuality. The film starred Manoj Bajpayee and Rajkummar Rao in the lead roles and was written by Apurva Asrani.
This list would be amiss without the addition of this Onir film. Featuring Sanjay Suri, Juhi Chawla and Purab Kohli in the lead roles, the movie is a sensitive portrayal of queer life after an HIV positive diagnosis.
Released in 1996, this Deepa Mehta movie suffered major controversies due to the relationship between the lead characters portrayed by Shabana Azmi and Nandita Das. It was the first Bollywood film to feature a lesbian relationship.
[All Images Credit: IMDb]