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Bollywood films exaggerating gay characters

July 16, 2012



Abhishek Bachan & John Abraham in a scene from the film "Dostana."

Recently more entertainers from US are coming out publicly as gay, lesbian or bisexual – a welcome sign of a more accepting America, activists say, amid a fierce debate over marriage equality. The trend comes after Barack Obama, gunning for re-election in November, became the first US president to support marriage equality – instantly winning kudos from LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) voters.

In mainstream bollywood films, a gay character is inserted to add a comic element to the film. In a recent movie, Bol Bachan in which Abhishek invents a gay twin brother and lends his Dostana touch to the character,according to a survey published in Times of India. Aseem Chhabra of writes “Bol Bachchan" may be drawing in large crowds but it commits one of the biggest Bollywood crimes, reinforcing gay stereotypes that Dostana popularised a while ago."

An upcoming upocming movie “Student Of The Year” Rishi Kapoor will be portraying gay character onscreen withn Gulshan Grover. Gulshan says that the film is for family viewing and his character is funny. He further mentioned that the character he played is funny but not in an insulting way. He is having dual roles in the film, one of a straight college professor, and the other of a gay choreographer. He says he respects the particular community and his some of his own friends who are very successful in their own friends are gays.

“But the general effect of an unusual body language or way of speaking could come across as funny, but it's really not," he says. In India, we are not used to seeing gay characters in mainstream films. We tend to exaggerate their qualities," he says.


Purab Kohli & Sanjay Suri in "My Brother Nikhil"

Both of Onir films My Brother Nikhil (MBN) and I Am revolved around homosexuality, Actor Purab Kohli, who played a homosexual in My Brother Nikhil (MBN), says that our country has different kinds of groups of people with different levels of understanding of things. "Throwing ideas out into the world is what I believe cinema has the power to do. But the fashion in which that idea is showcased has to be thought about too," he feels.

The Indian commercial cinema sometimes shows blow up content too much towards entertaining and by overstating the fact he says, adding, "So let's not make a big deal and single out homosexuality." Even Onir agrees with the argument. "Look at how women are shown in films. Most are stereotypical bimbos and that's how most Indian men look at women," Onir says.

Gulshan added that the responsibility to show homo-sexual content being normal and not be make fun of lies on the shoulder of the filmmaker. "

"It's okay to laugh with someone but not at someone," Onir says. "I think with films the thought is 'what generates money'. We don't think good, bad or ugly. If we do this, then it will work better— that is the thought process. We are the most racist, I think. But we don't like it if we go abroad and are treated badly," he adds.