It is that time of the year where we wave multi-coloured flags with love and Pride. Yes, it’s Pride month, a month where people from the community and those who don’t belong to it, come together to make the world understand what LGBTQIA+ actually means. It is a month where people belonging to the community are celebrated. Section 377 was decriminalised in India on 6th September 2018, i.e., almost 2 and a half years ago. India has come a long way since then, but still the people of that community are not recognised the way they should be. The idea is still not normalised and there a lot of homophobic people who still hate them.
Over the years, a few movies and shows in the Indian film industry have tried to do their best to create awareness and spread the message of ‘Love is Love’. While there have been movies and series that have misrepresented the community, some of them have tried to do justice to the idea. There are quite a few movies and shows that have dealt in entirety with homosexual relationships and the problems homosexuals face in society. Here are 10 Tamil and Hindi movies and series that represented Homosexuality in the right way.
Way back in 2002, Mahesh Dattani introduced male homosexual relationships into the world when nobody else spoke about it, through the movie Mango Soufflé. Mahesh Dattani is known for his Dance Like A Man and other such plays that deal with really heavy topics like patriarchy, sexism, etc. Mango Soufflé is one such movie which openly showed gay-love in 2002, when it was not even close to normalised. It revolves around a gay fashion designer Kamlesh (Ankur Vikal) recovering from his recently ended relationship who calls some of his friends over for dinner to make a special announcement about his personal life. But then Kamlesh’s sister (Rinke Khanna) enters the party with her fiancé (Atul Kulkarni), a man with a secret. This movie is pretty unknown and it is also underrated but it is a great movie in terms of representing homosexuality.
Ajeeb Dastan Hai Yeh from Bombay Talkies:
This movie Ajeeb Dastan Hai Yeh which is a part of the anthology, Bombay Talkies, is directed by Karan Johar. It tells the story of a gay man and another who is supposedly in a ‘happy marriage’. Although it is only one segment of the entire film, it deals with the concept beautifully and in the right manner. It also talks about Homophobia, where the protagonist Avinash leaves his parents’ house because they can’t accept the fact that he is Gay and labels him as a Eunuch. The movie involves a lot of emotions and keeps you engaged till the very end, where you wished it could have been a happy ending,
Margarita With A Straw:
Starring Kalki Koechlin and Sayani Gupta, Margarita With A Straw is a movie that deals not only with bisexuality but also disabilities like blindness and cerebral palsy. The protagonist, Laila is someone with cerebral palsy who tries to figure out her sexual orientation when she goes to America to pursue her higher education. She gets caught in a loop when she develops feelings for a man as well as a woman. How she figures out her sexual orientation and how the people around her, including her mother, accept her for being herself, forms the rest of the story. The movie on the whole deals with bisexuality and lesbians. This is again an underrated masterpiece, that represented the community in the right manner.
The movie is based on the real life story of Prof. Ramachandra Siras who was homosexual and was suspended from the college he was working because of the same reason. The story revolves around the court case fought by Siras to revoke his suspension. He wins the court case and his suspension is revoked, but he is found dead in his apartment. The rest of the movie deals with the death of the professor. While this is biographical drama movie, it really pains the audience to see the kind of homophobic judgements and actions Siras becomes prey to. The director did not use unwanted melodrama to evoke empathy, the movie itself pulls you at your heartstrings. The underlying message of the movie itself is to decriminalise homosexuality. This movie came out in 2015, before 377 was decriminalised.
Kapoor And Sons:
This movie starring Siddarth Malhotra and Alia Bhatt in lead roles, mainly deals with family drama and emotions. But, the movie also talks about homosexuality, Fawad Khan’s character, who identifies himself as gay. His parents are proud of him because he became a successful writer. But, when his mother comes to know of his sexual orientation, she can seem to accept that for her son. The movie shows his mother accepting and normalising his sexual orientation in the end. While homosexuality was not the main plot of the movie, it was given a very important part in the movie.
Kallachirippu is a tamil thriller series on Zee5 starring Amrutha Srinivasan as the protagonist. The series on the whole is a murder mystery, dealing with 24 year old Mahati through a series of misadventures that begin after being forced into an arranged marriage. Then the newly married Mahati accidentally stabs her husband to death in self-defense after a heated argument. This sets off a chain of events that reveal the true nature of every character involved in this marriage. While the thrill factor is the most predominant in this series, the series also deals with homosexuality. Mahati’s husband is found in a homosexual relationship, which happens to be the first problem in their marriage. The underlying message of the story is the extent homosexuals have to travel to, because they are not accepted as normal in society. This is the first tamil series that actually deals with homosexuality.
Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Lagha:
Starring Sonam Kapoor, Anil Kapoor and Regina Cassandra, this film was the first to represent homosexuality in Bollywood after section 377 was decriminalised. It revolves around Sweety who identifies as lesbian and falls in love with Kuhu. Her entire family is against is homophobic and consider their life ruined because of her sexual orientation. How Sweety makes her family accept homosexuality and normalise it forms the rest of the story. After 377 was decriminalised, a lot of people did not have much of an understanding about the community and they still don’t have. This movie however, did its part in creating awareness and normalising the idea.
Made In Heaven:
Made In Heaven, an Amazon Original series starring Arjun Mathur and Shobhitha Dhulipala in lead roles, focused on different kinds of marriages and problems that it had. While the lead actors are wedding planners, their own love and married life seems to take a dip, forming the irony of the story. Although the series released in 2019, it is set in a period before decriminalising section 377. Arjun Mathur plays the role of Karan, who becomes a serious victim of homophobia starting from his parents, who are not proud of him. He explores various relationships with men while suffering because he is forced to hide his love life from the public to avoid being penalised by law. The life of Karan really makes you question the law and the homophobic nature of society. Although homosexuality is not a criminal offence now, this series makes you wonder about all the struggle the community would have faced before 6th september 2018.
4 More Shots Please:
This series on Amazon is one that entirely deals with Feministic ideas. The series follows the story of four unapologetically flawed women (two in their 30s and two in their early 20s) as they live, love, make mistakes and discover what really makes them tick through friendship and shots of tequila in millennial Mumbai. One of the four, Gurbani J, plays Umang who identifies as bisexual. Umang loves a girl who loves her back, but ends up marrying Umang’s brother because she is not brave enough to face the brunt of homophobia and non-acceptance. Umang then moves to the city and falls in love with an actress who also does not want to come out of the closet and acts embarrassed of Umang in public. The series deals with the problems faced by Umang and how she makes Samara, her lover, accept her sexual orientation.
Gheeli Pucchi from Ajeeb Dastaans:
Starring Konkona Sen Sharma and Aditi Rao Hydari, Geeli Pucchi is one segment of the anthology, Ajeeb Dastaans. It deals with Bharti who identifies as Lesbian and Priya, who is in a marriage but not in a happy one. While it majorly deals with caste discrimination, Geeli Pucchi talks about lesbian relationships and how many just marry a man even though they’re lesbian, because they want to avoid being victims to homophobia.
All but 1 in this list are series and movies from Bollywood. Kallachirippu, is the only Tamil series that has represented homosexulity appropriately. While there have been 1 or 2 movies talking about homosexuality, they are often misrepresented. Regional content has not started focusing on this aspect of the LGBTQ+ community yet, while there are still quite a few movies on transgenders and their struggles. Recently, a movie called ‘En Magan Magizhvan’ was released in Tamil, but it has not gained much popularity. It received awards for its concept, but Tamil audiences are not even aware of such a movie. Not only Kollywood, but even Mollywood and Tollywood need to represent homosexuality more, and it should be done in the right way.