"Section 377 reveals only the hatred, revulsion and disgust of the draftsmen towards certain intimate choices of fellow human beings." - Chief Justice of India, Dipak Misra
It was in September 2018 when the historic judgment was passed by the Supreme Court of India revoking Section 377, which criminalised homosexuality. Together, we woke up and breathed an air of inclusivity. No longer were we just looking at things in just black and white, but all the colours of the rainbow opened up.
Even before this, some films from the Hindi film industry represented different facets of the queer experience.
Ayushmann Khurrana's Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan is being lauded on Twitter for being inclusive and diverse. Even though the film is yet to release, the trailer itself has everyone going gaga because it's exactly what the Hindi film industry needs right now. But, have you seen these films that brought the representation to the big screen, while also telling a diverse range of LGBT+ stories? Well, these sure will move you to tears.
This film is loosely based on a short story by Ismat Chughtai and has been written and directed by ace filmmaker, Deepa Mehta. It explores homosexuality in India as well as delves into women's sexual freedom in the country. When it was released, it didn't go down too well with fanatical political groups in India who even staged a protest to ban it.
Amol Palekar's critically acclaimed movie about the relationship between a transvestite dancer and a gang rape survivor shattered the traditional mold of how one would look at a relationship between a man and a woman. Released in 1996, the movie explored themes that would not be looked at at the time in Hindi cinema and even today stands as a classic. Peppered with humour and masala moments, Daayra is one for the books.
The first Indian silent LGBTQ+ love story, Sisak follows the story of two young men who travel in a local train together and feel a connection with each other through no words are exchanged. They don't have the courage to accept their feelings but the plethora of emotions are translated beyond the screen. The movie was even screened at the Cannes Film Festival.
Chitrangada - The Crowning Wish is all about the relationship between a gay couple who wants to adopt a child but aren't legally allowed to. One of them decides to get a sex-reassignment surgery to change the legal procedure and what follows suit is what we find out. The film even won the Special Jury Award at the 60th National Film Awards.
What happens when a mother comes to terms with the sexuality of her late son who was killed in a road accident is what this film delves into. Soon after his death, she understands and discovers that her son had a boyfriend and a whole other life that she knew nothing about. It was awarded the Best Feature Film in English at the 58th National Film Awards.
Loev is an urban tale about two friends and their feelings for each other that suddenly finds its way into their relationship during a weekend trip. The consequences of the same are beyond both their control but what's going to happen will possibly be for the best. Directed by Sudhanshu Saria, and starring Shiv Pandit and Dhruv Ganesh as friends as well as lovers, it is all about the feeling of eternal romance, sparks flying and hearts fluttering as well as breaking.
What happened when the Aligarh Muslim University professor, Ramchandra Siras, mysteriously died? His privacy is invaded and is sacked from his job, till a journalist cracks his story and fights for justice. The most hauntingly beautiful thing about Aligarh is that it explores dimensions about relationships, asks questions like what is it really like to be homosexual in India and the ill-treatment meted out to the LGBTQ community in the name of 'morality' and 'sanctity of the society'. It doesn't hurt that we're treated with terrific performances from Manoj Bajpayee as Siras and Rajkummar Rao as journalist Deepu Sebastian, this is a must-watch for everyone interested in cinema.
Arekti Premer Golpo is a complex mix of themes related to gender and sexuality where we are forced to see the ugly truths of society. A transgender filmmaker, Rituparno Ghosh, starts working on a documentary on Chapal Bhaduri, a legendary jatra actor who was famous for playing female roles, and finds parallels between her life and that of Chapal Bhaduri. Love, life and all things in between are switched and upturned, showing the agony that characters go through as they are marginalised and discriminated against.
These are all heartwarming yet heartbreaking movies in their own rights and we're so happy that mainstream Bollywood is also giving more representation to LGBTQ storylines with movies like Kapoor And Sons and Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga. We need more of this!