When homosexuality is not a taboo anymore...at least not in mainstream cinema!
A couple of years, I was watching a Malayalam flick, Mumbai Police, that starred South sensation Prithviraj Sukumaran. The movie had the actor playing a cop who loses his memory in an accident, as he was on the verge of solving the murder of his friend. As he tries to figure out what happened with the case, with no recollection of his previous life, he begins to find the pieces of his shattered life. Towards the end, (Spoiler ALERT), he realises that he had been a closeted homosexual, and the revelation of this secret made him kill his friend!
So why am I talking about this film now? Because when I saw the film for the first time, I was so impressed by the audacity of both the director and the actor to bring homosexuality on the big screen, and the stigma associated with it. It was also the first time I had seen a commercial star playing a person with an alternate sexuality, something which is very rare in Indian cinema. Mumbai Police was a game changer in Malayalam cinema. And now it seems that even Bollywood has paved open the door for sensitive portrayal of homosexuality.
It is not that Bollywood hasn't portrayed homosexuality before, but there were mostly part of art-house films like Fire, or crass flicks like Girlfriend, or pure pink-shirt wearing stereotypes like in the Kya Kool Hain Hum series. However, this year we have seen some sensitive portrayal of homosexuals on our screen. Sure we have also films like Mastizaade that still try to squeeze laughs out of gay community, but people have began to grow mature and rejecting such inane stuff, and accepting the below films.
So is 2016 the year when the audience and filmmakers are finally bring out a taboo from the closet and imbuing it into mainstream cinema? These characters from this year's films helps in achieving that:
Fawad Khan in Kapoor & Sons
Fawad Khan plays a writer and a 'perfect' son to his parents in the film, however he harbours a secret that he is sure would remove that 'perfect' tag from his list. He is in a relationship with someone who is not a female, and he has no shame to admit it to his mother, when the skeletons tumble out of the closet. Fawad Khan taking on this role is a risk considering how homosexuality is frowned upon back in his home country.
Arvind Swamy in Dear Dad
In rare piece of storytelling, Dear Dad narrates a tale of a father who comes out to his son on a road trip. Arvind Swamy, who charmed the girls in the '90s with his roles in Roja and Bombay, plays the Dad who has to explain to his shocked and angry son why he is taking such a huge decision.
Manoj Bajpayee in Aligarh
Based on a real-life Aligarh university professor, who was caught having sex with his rickshaw puller and ostracised by the society at large, Manoj Bajpayee gives a sensitive portrayal of a man who can;t understand how people can limit his choice of life in three letters, 'gay'! This could be the performance that could bag the Satya actor another National Award next year.
Honourable Mention: Patralekha in Love Games
A googly for sure, but rarely have we seen the lead actress of a film being shown as a bisexual, even if the purpose was to elicit cheap thrills.
So whose portrayal have you loved the most?
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