LGBTQ And The Indian Cinema

LGBTQ and the Indian cinema

Lgbtq is a burning topic in today’s world. The demand for equal rights and equal  positions in society is something that is concerned with every LGBTQ member. Today one of the biggest mediums which is educating people about LGBTQ is Indian cinema. Directors and producers today are actively making films on the struggle of LGBTQ people. This is one of the good changes in our film industry which is appreciable. 

Badhai Do- The Struggle Of Gay Couple

Talking about one of the recent films based on lgbtq, is ‘Badhai Do’. Rajkumar Rao and Bhumi Pednekar starrer ‘Badhai Do’ contains all the elements necessary for showing the struggle of a lesbian girl and a gay boy. Rajkumar Rao’s depiction of a gay police cop and Bhumi Pednekar’s role of a lesbian physical teacher are well convincing to connect with the characters. The film shows how a gay and a lesbian hide their real identity fearing the embarrassment from the society.

The family pressure of marriage over Shardul (Rajkumar Rao) and Sumi ( Bhumi Pednekar) forces them to tie themselves in an unhappy married life. This is a story of every gay/ lesbian in our society who involves themselves in a forceful marrige just because of the fear of the society. Also the amount of difficulties comes in a gay/ lesbian couple’s life during maintaining a same sex relationship is well shown in Badhai Do. The hide and seek life that a homosexual couple in films has to live forces us to think about the plight of the similar couple in real life. 

However, it seems that slowly but some people in our society are accepting the gay romance. The way Sumi’s romance with Rimjhim and Shardul romance with Guru in Badhai Do were appreciated by the audience, it shows the mentality of a progressive society.

Other Films Based On LGBTQ

Not only Badhai Do, but movies like Ek ladki ko dekha toh aisa laga, Bombay talkies, Shubh Mangal Jyada Shabdhan, Aligarh etc have also broken the stereotype of homosexuality. Before Badhai do, Rajkumar Rao had done another LGBTQ film, ‘Aligarh’ in 2016. This film also focussed on the gay romance between two men. 

Apart from men, seeing the leading actresses of Bollywood like Sonam Kapoor, Bhumi Pednekar doing a film based on such a bold topic of lesbian romance is much appreciated.  

 ‘Ek ladki ko dekha toh aisa laga’ starring Sonam Kanpoor was released in 2018 which was a burning topic then. The film had shown how a lesbian girl fights with her family to live with the partner of her choice. Almost every lgbtq based movie has the same message that the society should accept lgbtq members and treat them equally. 

In the above list of films made on lgbtq, Rajpal Yadav and Rubina Dilaik starrer, ‘Ardh’ is the latest entry. The film has been released on an OTT platform on 10 June, 2022.   

History Of LGBTQ Cinema

Seeing the history, we can notice that a gay or lesbian character has been mainly  used as a side character in Bollywood films to add entertainment. Mainstream movies based on lgbtq are still very few in number.

 ‘Fire’ which stars Shabana Aazmi was one of the first mainstream movies which focused on lesbian romance. The film was released in 1996 but was very ahead of its time. In the same year, Bomgay, a short film based on gay romance was also released. 

The Opposition On LGBTQ Films

When a film is made on the bold topic of lgbtq romance, a large section of people oppose it. There are people in our society who believe that same gender romance is a crime and it should not be promoted. From ‘Fire’ to ‘Ek ladki ko aisa laga’ every lgbtq film has received backlash for promoting homosexual romance. No matter what, our government has provided equal rights to LGBTQ community, but still people are not ready to accept them.

LGBTQ On Indian Television

While cinema is making good efforts to educate people on lgbtq topics, television also doesn’t lack behind in this. Rashmi Sharma’s produced show, ‘Shakti: Astitva Ke Ahsaas Ki’ drew a lot of attention for showing a transgender woman’s story. Rubina Dilaik and Vivian Disena were the main leads in the serial. ‘Shakti’ was one of the biggest and most appreciated efforts in television’s history to touch the sensitive issue of transgender.

Indian Laws Made For LGBTQ

In Indian constitution, there are many laws made which protects the lgbtq community from social discrimination. Let’s see some of these laws. 

  • Article 15 of the constitution says that no person should be discriminated based on his/her caste, religion, race gender and sex. 
  • Transgender Persons  Act:- This  act was adopted in 2019. The act prohibits discrimination against any transgender in education sector,  employment and in healthcare services. According to this act, a transgender should not be denied the access of any goods, services and accomodation. 

Qualitative Over Quantitative

Today Indian Cinema is changing in both qualitative and quantitative terms. Qualitative films like Badhai Do, Kashmir Files are awaring the people about lgbtq community and history of Kashmir pandit respectively. But there are dozens of films which are earning just because of vulgarity and bold scenes. So, it is us who have to decide carefully which film we should watch and which we shouldn’t. 

LGBTQ Cinema- An Effort To Change The Mentality

The discrimination of LGBTQ community is a major problem in our Indian society as well as in the outside world. More films which showcase the plight and challenges of a gay should be highlighted and promoted. These handful of efforts will not instinctively change the mindset of people, but will slowly create a sense of social acceptance for the LGBTQ community.