While we look forward to getting entertained every Friday with a commercial film on the big screens, sometimes it is the script of the movies or characters who stay with us for more than just 2 hours. It is said that cinema is a reflection of society and vice versa. So, some scripts and characters leave such an impact on us that we couldn’t get over after the reel had stopped spinning and the curtains are drawn. Some masterpieces trigger the deep-rooted perceptions, questions the stereotypes, and leave the audience with a rush of emotions, inspiring and motivating them through their story. The cinema has evolved over the years and now it is not just for entertainment, but it also addresses an issue of a society or touches the untouchable topics in the world.
It was in 2018 when the air in India had finally smelled freedom as Section 377 which criminalized consensual sex between same-sex adults was overruled. The verdict came as a big relief and it was indeed a historic moment of celebration for not only the LGBTQ+ community but for everyone who believes in standing up for who they are and promotes #LoveIsLove! It was a moment of immense PRIDE!
So, this Pride Month here’s a list of Bollywood films and shows that you can binge-watch at home which portrays the lives of the LGBTQ+ community. Cinema that leaves an impact on the audience and challenges the society to deal with their issues is what good cinema is all about. So, don’t forget to share your precious feedback with us as to which film you liked the most and why!
A 1996 Bollywood film that was clearly ahead of its time as the tolerance of the LGBTQ+ community was quite low in our country. A Deepa Mehta film starring Shabana Azmi and Nandita Das was the first Indian movie which explicitly focussed on the lesbian relationship.
A film which proves that some stories are just beyond words. The tale of love, Sisak is the first-ever Indian silent LGBTQ short film, which focuses on how a queer couple struggles with the perception of society on homosexuality. The 20-min short film is an unlikely weapon to support the LGBTQ+ community.
A story about a young musician, who reconnects with his childhood friend on a hiking trip and how gradually they discover feelings for one another. This heart-warming film, of their sexual and complex relationship, had won the Audience Award for Best Feature Film at the 2016 Tel Aviv International Film Festival.
4. Made In Heaven
Made In Heaven is a binge-worthy show that brings the focus on the queer character front and center. The story is about two wedding planners, a proud queer and an apologetic feminist. A closeted gay man drowning in personal conflicts doesn’t perceive his queerness as a burden, despite knowing the taboo he has to live with every single day.
5. Margarita With A Straw
She is one bold, sassy, and extremely talented star off B-town, and in her career of over a decade, she has given us some prominent films to change the perspective of the society. One such National Film Award winner, Margarita with a Straw that was wonderfully liberating and an achievement for Indian cinema. A story of two attractive and smart young queer women with disabilities, who fall in love.
Based on the life of Ramchandra Siras, a professor at Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh questions what it is to be like a homosexual in India and the ill-treatment of the LGBTQ+ community in the name of morality in our country. The masterfully directed Aligarh courageously stands for human rights and the film had its world premiere at the 20th Busan International Film Festival, receiving a standing ovation.
When a film casts, unequivocally one of the finest actors of Bollywood, Paresh Rawal, and the story depicting the lives and struggles of the LGBTQ+ community, it has to be a must-watch. Paresh Rawal defined perfection in his role as a transgender, which is reportedly based on a true story. Speaking about his role, in an interview with a media portal, Paresh had said, “My intention was to disabuse the impression that eunuchs are not caricatures. I wanted to give them a human face and dignity.” C’mon, what are you waiting for? Go, watch it!
8. Shabnam Mousi
Another gem of Indian cinema, Ashutosh Rana has not only acted in mainstream films but had also given us some prominent movies to be cherished forever. Based on a real-life character, Ashutosh starrer film was a brave attempt to portray the real fight that transgenders fight to live with dignity in the society. Shabnam Mousi is a saga of a eunuch, who overcame prejudice and became the first Hijra to be elected to public office in India.
9. Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga
Sonam Kapoor, RajKummar Rao, and Anil Kapoor starrer Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga became the first ‘mainstream’ film on a same-sex love story with leading B-town stars as the cast. The film has put forth the reality in a hope of change and brings the audience one step closer to acceptance. Not only does the protagonist struggles with her own sexual identity which the society labels as a ‘disease’, it also focuses on the desi family coming to terms with the idea of love knowing no bounds of gender.
10. Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan
Shubh Mangal Zyada Savdhaan is Bollywood’s first-ever openly gay love story, which is indeed a much-needed change in the era of heterosexual romantic lovers. This unconventional new-age DDLJ introduces the rainbow love to the cinema lovers, their struggles to fight for their love and convincing the conservative family. A story of a closeted man, who loves his family as much as he loves his sexuality.
Enjoy the ‘pride’ marathon and don’t forget to share your favourites with us. Happy binge-watching guys!