Hindi Cinema is evolving. And the proof to that are the recent movies that, thankfully, do not stereotype homosexuality as an element to invoke laughter but rather treat it seriously, presenting it as something which the audience needs to start accepting and respecting. But just the vision of the director is not enough to send across this message!
It takes a bold step by some of these actors to put their stardom at stake and play a controversial character; and yet make it an endearing one. Let us have a look at some of those actors who played gay on-screen and nailed it:
(Bombay Talkies – Ajeeb Dastaan Hai Yeh)
That cool guy who can easily charm you with his smooth talks too has a dark past- of being deserted by his own family, of trying his best every day to get accepted by the society; and yet he smiles and flirts with the man he has developed affection for. Yes, that was different from how Karan Johar has always treated homosexual men in his movies (Rishi Kapoor in ‘SOTY’ for instance) and was wonderfully portrayed by Saqib Saleem. For the actor, who came across as just another actor playing the “cool-college-boy” roles in his previous two flicks, this was the role that surely got him all the critical acclaim and got him under the limelight for all the right reasons.
(Kapoor & Sons)
With ‘Kapoor & Sons’, director Shakun Batra paved way for a commercial Bollywood movie to touch upon the bold subject of homosexuality with such grace and care. And despite Sidharth getting the chartbuster song and Alia getting to groove and flaunt her hot-and-bubbly side, it was Fawad Khan’s intense and terrific performance as mama’s not-so-perfect son that made its way into the hearts of the audiences.
Perhaps one of the most wonderful and endearing performances amongst the lot, Manoj Bajpayee completely nailed it as the gay professor of Aligarh Muslim University. The loneliness in his eyes, the need to get accepted by people he once considered as his friends and the proud smile on his face every time someone asked him to recite a Marathi poem- sheer brilliance!
Swamy chose to make a comeback in Bollywood as the cool ‘Dear Dad’ who had been compromising on his identity for real long before his son gave him the courage to come out of the closet and be proud of himself. Watch this wonderful movie for his matured and natural performance. Watch it to see how easy life gets when you accept someone for what they are- even if it is your own father!
‘My Brother…Nikhil’ released in the times when even speaking about homosexuality was considered to be a taboo. A first of its kind, the movie had Sanjay Suri give his career’s best performance! Be it the scene where he effortlessly shies away from kissing Dipannita Sharma or where he gets jailed for being an HIV positive- his touching performance left all with tears in their eyes.
(I Am - Omar)
In the chapter ‘Omar’ from ‘I Am’, director Onir gives us a sneak-peek into how homosexuals are looked upon by all, and how anyone can lure them and use them for their own motive. And Rahul Bose, as usual, doesn’t disappoint. He covers every aspect of his character with such ease and grace- right from flirting with a boy to making out with him and going through the pain of betrayal and humiliation by a cop.
Films have always been a representative of the society, and at times also been an eye-opener for the society. And even though (most of the times) the premises remain the same with director making formula movies…it is the perspective towards many people and many topics that have begun to change, and started making a change!