Section 377 and the Maturing of Indian Cinema

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Section 377 Indian Cinema

Movies can create both fiction or maturely show the reality of the society onscreen. It is a wonderful way to educate the masses about much. Cinema plays an influential role in a youth’s life and affects his mindset. But sadly, more often than not Indian film-makers haven’t really talked about Homosexuality in a mature manner. As the decriminalization of Section 377 marks 1 year, we look at the relationship between the two.

Since long, Indian cinema has resorted to making them comic elements of movies which did no good to the society. But now when it’s almost a year of decriminalization of Section 377, we go down the memory lane where we see bold filmmakers who showed gay characters more than mere props even before the legal system accepted it.

Movies like Deepa Mehta’s Fire is surely the one topping the list. Fire spectacularly portrayed the love between two women which caused an
outrage in the audience in the year 1996.

Section 377 Indian Cinema

Years later we witnessed another movie named My brother… Nikhil which released in 2005 was a step further in the league as it not only showed homosexuality but also dealt with the sensitive subject of AIDS. Directed by Onir this movie was surely applauded for carefully dealing with these two topics in a mature manner.

While I am: The movie is based on four different stories and also includes a story of a homosexual couple. The gay love shown in the movie wasn’t cheesy but mature. Directed by Onir again, the movie won a few national awards too. The story of I am was all about Gay rights and how society looked at them.

Margarita with a Straw: Kalki Koechlin played the role of a young girl with cerebral palsy who falls in with a blind Pakistani woman was another bold movie in Indian cinema. Through the wonderful movie she discovers that she also is falling for a man and then realizes that she is a bisexual.

section 377 indian cinema

Aligarh: A movie based on the true story of Ramchandra Siras, a professor at Aligarh Muslim University who was bashed for being gay. He was abdicated from his position as he was caught with a man in his house which was in the campus quarters. Beautifully showing the mentality of the society causing an uproar against him was nothing but a mirror to the Indian society. Manoj Bajpayee’s intense performance moved us emotionally and mentally.

Kapoor and Sons: The movie showed Fawad as a successful mature writer. He was first in all what he did but he hid his reality from his mother. Without stereotyping his role, the makers maturely showed the normalcy around it. The movie surely gets bonus points for making a “commercial” movie in such great light.

Section 377 Indian Cinema

Since Section 377 has been decriminalized, the makers are working on the subject without the fear of being criticised or censored. One of the boldest and most famous take on a homosexual individual was the Gay wedding planner in the Amazon Prime series Made in Heaven. Arjun Mathur was confident, smart well spoken handsome and quite successful like any one of us. His portrayal in the series shows how he fits well in society and is not any pitiful element.

In this year, we have seriously seen the breed of educated – broad filmmakers increase at a steady pace. Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga (February 2019) starring Sonam Kapoor, Anil Kapoor and Raj Kummar
Rao was co-written by transwoman and activist Gazal Dhaliwal. The movie boldly took the same subject as the base of the script and dealt with it maturely.

Section 377 Indian Cinema

Other web series like Four More Shots Please (Amazon Prime), Romil and Jugal (ALTBALAJI), MTV’S series Kaise Yeh Yaariyan also underline a gay subplot in its story lines. There are many others who have added the homosexuality element in their scripts. Normalizing the affair, it is imperative to talk about something natural which is still shamed in society.

After 158 years this colonial law was decriminalized last year, we hope that society grows mature and accepts the people around them for who they are and not for their sexual preferences. May the tribe of broadminded makers grow who educate and influence the society’s behavior in a positive manner.

-Prakriti Malhotra

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