Pride of Bollywood

The Pride Of Bollywood

In 2013 we saw a significant shift in the way gay people are portrayed in Bollywood. With Bombay Talkies, the Hindi film industry’s cinematic celebration of its 100th anniversary, we experienced one of the most enlightening stories about gays in modern Indian society. Ajeeb Dastaan Hain Yeh by Karan Johar pushed the portrayal of gays in the right direction, finally.

With LGBT Pride month underway, here’s some of our favourite gay characters brought forth by Bollywood.

Nikhil Kapoor (played by Sanjay Suri)

The first film in Hindi cinema’s history to tackle the subject of AIDS, My Brother Nikhil, directed by Onir, was one of the biggest shocks for movie-goers in 2005. Sanjay Suri’s, Nikhil marked a turning point showcasing a well-rounded, intelligent and tender man, with none of the over-the top, gay stereotyping.

Vicky (played by Karan Khanna)

In 2007’s Honeymoon Travels, Khanna perfectly portrays a man who is seemingly happily married to Pinky (played by Ameesha Patel) yet wrestles with his attraction to Bunty (played by Vikram Chatwell).

Ashley (played by Yuvraaj Parashar)

Dunno Y Na Jaane Kyon was not specifically a Bollywood film but it did feature some industry heavyweights including Helen Richardson Khan, Zeenat Aman, and Lata Mangeshkar singing the title song. Prashar’s character gave audiences an understanding of what it’s like being torn between two worlds—one of societal duty and the other of true love for someone of the same sex. For Hindi cinema this was a groundbreaking film

Avinash (played by Saqib Saleem)

This young, headstrong man determined not to hide in the closet his whole life was a surprise, particularly as it came from the mind of Karan Johar, who for many years has been criticised by the gay community for his stereotypical portrayals of gay culture.

It’ll be interesting to see how gay cinema continues to develop and more interesting still to see how it’s received by audiences so unexposed to this type of subject matter. Happy Pride.

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