It’s 2020, and Section 377 is no more. Big win for the LGBTQ+ community in the country, right? Well, yeah. But does that mean the fight is over? By no means. Films have a huge reach and influence millions of minds, so it’s only logical that LGBTQ+ receives adequate representation in films to show that it is nothing unnatural or taboo. But do films always get it right? In recent times, shows like Pati Patni Aur Panga have received flak for the incorrect representation of the trans community. But there are films that have gotten it right, some of which are given below.
Based on the life of Prof. Ramchandra Siras from Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh portrays some of the truest representation of how homosexuality is viewed in India. After a TV crew forcibly enters the professor’s home and finds him having consensual sex with a man, he is sacked from his job and is subjected to discrimination and violence from society. In the film, where Prof. Ramchandra Siras is brilliantly played by Manoj Bajpayee, Rajkumar Rao plays the journalist who is empathetic towards the professor and seeks to help him. The professor eventually won the court case lodged against him but committed suicide before he could be reinstated to the university. With no dramatic dialogue or larger than life portrayals, Aligarh still manages to be hard-hitting by just showing what it means to be LGBTQ+ in India.
2. Margarita With A Straw
Margarita With A Straw revolves around Laila (Kalki Koechlin), an Indian woman with cerebral palsy, who falls in love with a blind Pakistani girl (Sayani Gupta). Laila has a close relationship with her mother, so when she discovers her daughter is bisexual, it becomes difficult for her to accept her daughter. The film brilliantly portrays the complexity of disability, queerness, and gender, and how it affects our relationships.
3. Kapoor & Sons
In Kapoor & Sons, Rahul Kapoor (Fawad Khan) and Arjun Kapoor (Sidharth Malhotra) are two brothers who are always at each other’s throats, but their grandfather’s sickness forces them to share a house as a family after years. Underneath the family drama is another secret – Rahul’s sexuality. When his mother discovers photos of her son and his boyfriend, she reacts badly. Perhaps the first time ever, we discovered a big-budget production with popular actors that portrayed an accurate representation of the LGBTQ+ community without making a big deal out of it.
4. My Brother…Nikhil
When swimming champion Nikhil is found to be HIV positive and gay, he is shunned by his team and family, arrested, and kept in isolation. 90s Goa was not a good place for the LGBTQ+ community, where the police were told to arrest Nikhil and keep him in isolation, and was only released after his sister (Juhi Chawla) and boyfriend (Purab Kohli) helped him out. This is yet another film that normalizes gay relationships, which have their share of ups and downs.
Two sisters-in-law trapped in loveless marriages form the base of Fire. Radha (Shabana Azmi) and Sita (Nandita Das) are stuck in marriages where their husbands choose mistresses or celibacy instead of their wives, leading to a stronger bond between the women. The bond slowly turns into passionate relationships that help them become aware of their desire in a society that treats them as objects solely for men’s pleasure. Released in 1996, this film was way ahead of its times and created an outrage across the country.
Title image credit: India.com
Do you know any other Indian movies that got LGBTQ+ representation right?