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Friday, September 14, 2007

Trapped in a Closet-- For How Long?

A recent article on Indiafm about a 27-minute long movie about a non-resident Indian caught my attention today. The movie, titled "When Miland Soman Made me Gay," explores the difficulties of being gay in the Indian community.

This subject hasn't been dealt with very much in mainstream Bollywood in the past.

In recent times, Bollywood has started covering the topic better than it had before. "Kal Ho Naa Ho," a blockbuster hit and an all-out mainstream film with some of the most popular actors in the industry, had a joke playing out through the movie where a maid thought the two main lead male actors were in a relationship. It was silly, but it did portray how the conservative maid from India was not at all accepting with the idea.

But, the movie did have some mention of homosexuality, which is a start. Earlier this year, A film called "Honeymoon Travels, Pvt. Ltd." about six couples on their honeymoon, dealt with the subject in a better manner. Two of the men are in heterosexual marriages, happen to be gay. One man knew he was gay from the start, and the other discovered he was homosexual after he was marred. The men end up staying with their wives, one man not revealing his homosexuality to his very Indian wife, and the other who tells his wife, but they still decide to stay with each other. The men in "Honeymoon" were not depicted in the stereotypical Bollywood manner, where a gay man would simply mean a man with feminine qualities. The film is definitely a great start.

Other movies, such as "Girlfriend" and "Fire," are about lesbians. "Girlfriend" was made during the height of Bollywood's fascination with provocativeness and sexuality, while Fire was a much more substantial, deeper movie-- but I wouldn't call it a mainstream Bollywood film.