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Misrepresentation of LGBTQ+ Community in Hindi Cinema

Media portrayal of LGBTQ+ community in Indian Cinema can be concluded as scarce & sick. It’s not like they’re not represented at all. There have been a few genuine tries that absolutely nailed the media portrayal. Films such as 'Fire', 'My Brother...Nikhil', 'Margarita with a Straw', 'Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan' & many other regional films as well. There are some films where dragging is justified like 'Chachi 420', 'Mr. India' where Sridevi dresses as Charlie Chaplin & so on. 'Kapoor & Sons' beautifully portrayed the nuances of coming out of the closet in a beautiful & gentle manner.

However, in terms of representation of the LGBTQ+ community the following questions often come across my mind: Why do characters of male fashion designers/stylists/ makeup artists are always portrayed gay? Why is cross dressing or dragging used in favour of poor taste of comedy? Suresh Menon being a talented actor in this industry was used as an image of a desperate gay person. Why is that so ?

In fact, Abhishek Bachchan was one of the early celebrities to express support for the Supreme Court ruling. Unfortunately, his films ‘Dostana’, ‘Housefull’ and ‘Bol Bachchan’ have some of the most offensive portrayals. Even 'Laxmii' failed to present a proper representation. A transgender woman trapped inside a cis man for horror comedy quite promotes transphobia. If you remember Kaanta Ben from ‘Kal Ho Na Ho’, you’d remember her homophobic reactions. The problem is not showing the reality of homophobia around us, but milking ill-comedy out of a serious issue should be stopped. ‘Humshakals’ had unfunny cross-dressing for no reason. ‘Apna Sapna Money Money’ had weird & cringy symbolism references. And the list goes on… Remember Bobby Darling ? She was the queer icon who deserves an apology from the entire industry on the grouds of discrimination. We never celebrated her calibre & media portrayal. Films offered her distasteful comic roles, where she was ready to offer so much more than. Being a trans-woman, she always had those roles which were specifically written to promote transphobia. Remember ‘Kya Kool Hai Hum’ ? It was & will always be hugely frowned upon by the queer-trans community.

Now, it is quite a relief to see Indian Filmmaking marching towards an open approach around these issues. We hope to see more of a good representation of LGBTQ+ community. The trend tends to break open the taboo & so do we.


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