Anti-gay ruling brings Bollywood out of the closet

Cineswami writes about the recent judgement passed by the Supreme Court

There has been a strong wave of protest by Bollywood against the recent Supreme Court ruling that has re-criminalised homosexuality in India, and rightly so. Unlike Hollywood, where homosexuality is commonplace and being told that a star or director is gay won’t cause even a mild flutter, matters are different in India because of our so-called value system. This is exemplified by Kamaal R Khan’s crass tweets. The sad truth is that though many Bollywood practitioners purport to be all liberal and pro-gay, many of them are secretly homophobic and snigger about the gay community behind their backs at whisky sodden industry parties.

Cineswami was at one such party the night the Supreme Court ruling came out (pun intended). The venue was a plush lounge bar in a posh Mumbai suburb. Many of the known gay communities were in attendance and as soon as they left, well-lubricated tongues started wagging and the bitching began in earnest. Here are some of the nuggets overheard, many of them old saws being regurgitated:

The oldest saw was about a Bollywood superstar who crashed with a former television actor turned producer when he first arrived in Mumbai and supposedly granted him sexual favours. The married superstar was supposed to be part of a gay love triangle with a well-known fashion designer and an A-list director. The A-list director introduced one of his former assistant directors as a leading man in a teeny bopper film and set him up in a posh flat and a got him a car and driver, in exchange for sexual favours.

Almost as old a saw is about the head of a television production house who likes her ladies. Apparently, her yesteryear Bollywood hero father had a glad eye for the male of the species and her wannabe star brother is in a relationship with the same fashion designer who was part of the triangle mentioned earlier.

A lesser-known fact about the wannabe star brother is that he was part of an ensemble cast headed by Hindi cinema’s biggest superstar ever and another macho star, now mainly reduced to doing south remakes. The unit was at a remote location in Maharashtra with no female company and the macho star wanted an orifice to slake his lust. The wannabe star brother duly obliged and the macho star justified to himself that he is not gay simply because he gave and did not receive.

There are many more such tales doing the round of the Bollywood party circuit, including that of the female director of a monster hit set in a European country, which also starred her brother. She is openly gay in her circles, but now, thanks to the Supreme Court ruling, her boldness will surely be subdued.

Perhaps in a way, the ruling merely holds up a mirror to our society. We have long been a nation of hypocrites and now it is legal to be so.