Cinema is one of the greatest ways of starting a change. It has a wide reach with mass viewing, allowing people to learn and also change their opinions and mentalities. This helps in displaying a grand variety of themes, showing sides and pushing boundaries that are usually sidestepped by society including the LGBT community.
Nevertheless, it comes as no surprise that India too is no different from the world when it comes to cinema. Bollywood is the second biggest film industry in the world.
We have 7 Indian films that have helped the LGBT community in India by portraying them in a good light. Moreover, this effectively helps in voicing out problems and discriminations that they face on a day to day basis.
1. The Movie That Changed It All: Fire
‘Fire’, a 1996 film, starring Shabana Azmi and Nandita Das. It was one of the first ever lesbian intrinsic film based in India. It immediately received criticisms and backlash due to its plot line.
Sita and Radha, two Indian women stuck in loveless marriages. As the two women recognize their similar situations, they grow closer, and their relationship becomes far more involved than either of them could have anticipated.
2. AIDS Awareness: My Brother… Nikhil
‘My Brother… Nikhil’ is a 2005 Indian film set in Goa, based on the life of Dominic d’Souza. The film doesn’t depict homosexuality as something abnormal. Rather, it revolves around a gay couple and tries to tackle stereotypes relating to them. The movie portrays the life of Nikhil, from 1987 to 1994, when AIDS awareness in India was considerably low.
Nikhil is diagnosed with HIV, this causes his life to fall apart. He is kept in forced isolation by law under the Goa Public Health Act. Furthermore, his parents desert him and his friends move away. The only two people who stand by him are his sister Anamika and his boyfriend, Nigel.
3. LGBT and Disabilities: Margarita With A Straw
‘Margarita with a Straw’, 2014, stars Kalki Koechlin as Laila, an Indian teenager with cerebral palsy who relocates to America for her undergraduate education and comes of age. We follow her complex relationship with a blind girl, Khanum, played by Sayani Gupta.
The film released in India on the 27th of April and garnered positive reviews. It was brutally honest, portraying the Indian mindset towards the LGBT community.
4. Bengali Transgender Film: Arekti Premer Golpo
‘Arekti Premer Golpo’ translates as ‘Just Another Love Story’, is a 2010 love story. The movie revolves around the trauma, the pressure, the setbacks, heartache and several situations faced by transgenders. The movie is about a Delhi base transgender documentary filmmaker Abhiroop Sen and his bisexual lover cinematographer. They wanted to make a documentary on the life of famous “Jatra” actor “Chapal Bhaduri” But doing so Sen recognized that his life resembles Chapal’s life.
5. Harsh Truths: Bombay Talkies
‘Bombay Talkies’ is a 2013 Indian anthology film consisting of four short films, one of which is ‘Ajeeb Dastaan Hai Yeh directed by Karan Johar. Gayatri, played by Rani Mukherjee, is the editor of Mumbai Masala. Her television news anchor husband Dev, Randeep Hooda, loves old songs and Avinash, Saqib Saleem – the new intern in Gayatri’s office – is gay.
Hence, follows a tale about truth, love, sex and selfhood. It, however, follows with more brutal honesty than one could have hoped for with all the characters left in their pains by the end.
6. India’s First Hardcore Gay Film: Bomgay
‘Bomgay’ is a 1996 film starring Kushal Punjabi and Rahul Bose. An Indian short film divided into six parts. Each part is based on R.Raj Rao’s poem. Furthermore, it is considered to be amongst the most hardcore gay saga’s and is known for its controversial gay sex scene in a library.
7. The Shocking: Padmavaat
Since the first trailer released, Padmaavat has taken the entire nation by surprise. The most anticipated movie of 2018 starring Ranveer Singh, Shahid Kapoor, and Deepika Padukone follows the story of a Rajput queen with And, nothing surprises us more than the fact, that it falls under Bollywood’s LGBT Category.
Ranveer Singh who plays the role of Sultan Allaudin Khilji is a bisexual. He even has a whole song stating the same!
Seeing the newer, more modern films coming out and helping raise awareness for the LGBT community makes our hearts warm up. For more heartwarming content click here!