‘Meghadhanushya – The Colour of Life’, the first Gujarati feature film dealing with the lives of homosexuals, premiered at a multiplex in Gandhinagar on Thursday. The film, directed by former ayurveda practioner K R Devamani, shows the challenges faced by a gay man in a society reluctant to accept him.
“As a doctor, I have seen what gay people go through. I wanted to sensitize society at large,” said Devmani. “We can keep debating the issues surrounding gay rights, but first we need to accept them as part of our society. They are humans too.”
‘Meghadhanushya’ will add to a growing body of cinematic work on gay issues. Like Onir’s directorial debut ‘My Brother Nikhil’ (2005), which was widely appreciated and Atul Kulkarni-starrer ‘Mango Souffle’ (2002) which was promoted as the first gay film from India.
Manvendra Singh Gohil, popular gay activist and scion of erstwhile princely state of Rajpipla, was the chief guest at the premiere. He is also the narrator of the film. “The gay and transgender community mostly provides the comic element in mainstream Bollywood films,” he said. “‘Meghadhanushya’ is an attempt to change that perception.”
The film also attempts to draw the attention of cinema-goers in Gujarat to regional cinema. “People have lost interest in Gujarati movies. I believe with a film like this, things will get better, said Devamani, a first-time director.
The film has newcomer Bhaumik Nayak in the lead role. The cast includes some famous Gujarati actors like Asha Panchal and Alpana Majumdar. The film will be released countrywide next week.
Ahmedabad: Gay rights activist Manvendra Singh Gohil believes that due to awareness created by media, homosexuality has more acceptance in society today. “People are now sensitive towards gay people and do not make fun of them,” says the gay rights activist.
Speaking on the sidelines of the premiere of the first Gujarati gay film ‘Meghadhanushya – The Colour of Life’, Gohil pointed out that it was the much publicized Delhi high court judgment (July 2009) of decriminalizing consensual sex between adults that gave the needed boost to the gay pride movement.
“The support we get from heterosexuals is amazing and even educational institutes and students’ groups are coming forward to support the cause of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community,” said Gohil, who appeared on Oprah Winfrey Show in 2007.
Gohil, along with activist Sylvester Merchant started the organization Lakshya in 2000 for prevention of HIV/AIDS among men who have sex with men (MSM). Merchant, who has been closely working with Gohil said, “People have moved from being totally ignorant to actually talking about it.”
Kirit Nayak, director of Shakhya Foundation, stresses that the acceptance has to start from family itself. “My wife knows that I am gay and she has no qualms about it,” he says. His foundation too works for prevention of HIV/AIDs among MSMs and the transgender community.
“My wife always says that my husband may be Hema Malini for others, but for me, he is my Dharmendra,” said Nayak.
Gohil had made headlines when he came out of the closet about his sexuality in 2006, shocking even his family. But now, after seven years he has reconciled with his family and there is even a book being written about him. “My father’s uncle is writing my biography which he plans to publish and release worldwide later this year,” says Gohil.