For long, Bollywood has portrayed homosexuals as comic characters. However, I Am, My Brother Nikhil, Dunno Y…Na Jaane Kyon and Fashion are some examples that do not take the beaten path and steer clear of stereotypical gay portrayal. In a recent interview, fashion designer Rohit Bal said, “Bollywood makes gays appear feminine, idiotic and abnormal.
I strongly resent it. We need to portray the true lives of gays in India.” According to reports, the designer is even toying with the idea of making a movie on gays in India.
Agreeing with Rohit’s opinion, fashion stylist Vikram Seth says, “Gays in our movies are often shown as dainty and feminine, which is very unlike what most of them are in real life. Gay men are as masculine and as anybody else for that matter. There is a radical difference between real life and reel life. People with different sexual orientation should be shown as balanced as they are in real life. High time Bollywood directors change their perceptive and stop projecting stereotypical characters.”
Manish Sharma, a LGBT community activist, shares, “It is a sad fact that most of the gay characters are used as comic relief in our movies. Now when they are coming out in the open and people are accepting their reality, Bollywood should rethink about how to portray them. Directors should kill this narrow-mindedness and be sensitive towards people with different sexual needs.”
Bollywood director Onir, who made I Am and My Brother… Nikhil, says that most filmmakers think in terms of money. “Primarily, in mainstream cinema, majority of women and gay characters are portrayed as funny and stereotypical. The reason is that directors look for what churns money. Not that they are homophobic, but they look for marketable and money-making ideas,” says he.
Onir adds that if we look at regional cinema, directors like Rituparno Ghosh are highlighting the other side of homosexuals. “Regional cinema is tackling the theme of homosexuality in a much wiser and nicer way. Directors in Bengali cinema, Marathi cinema and even Malayalam movies are portraying sensible characters and addressing the correct issues. While here in Bollywood, I can’t think of any movie beyond a handful that show homosexuals in a decent light. I personally do not like these stereotyped characters and believe somebody’s identity should not be tampered with,” ends he.