“Love is love, it sees no boundaries or gender” this quote very well states the simple definition of love, but the society still stigmatizes the concept of a same-sex relationship. Even after passing a historical judgement by Supreme Court in 2018, which decriminalised homosexuality and repealed Section 377, the citizens might not be ready to accept the same. The Indian cinema has come forward to address the nation through the medium of their films. Below are the top Bollywood movies based on LGBT rights:
Kapoor And Sons (2016)
The story of two brothers, who return to their home after a few years to see their ailing grandfather turns into a family drama when unsolved problems start opening up. The relation worsened between the brothers after they encounter a girl in their lives. Some cracks in the family leads to bigger problems. In the end, the father of these brothers dies in an accident. The unbeatable acting of the late Rishi Kapoor in the film leaves us nostalgic every time we watch this film. It featured Siddharth Malhotra, Fawad Khan and Alia Bhatt in lead roles with a few more actors.
Fawad Khan’s role in the film was commendable in the film. He played a gay son who hides his identity throughout the film from his family. At the end, when everyone gets to know the truth, his mother is devastated and acts like he did some shameful act. He quoted an amazing dialogue, “I can apologize for all the things I kept hidden from you but how can I apologize for something who I am?” This dialogue touched our hearts as it clearly depicts some truth in it. People from LGBTQ community deserve an equal respect and dignity for their identity.
Badhaai Do (2022)
The most recent Bollywood movie based on LGBT focuses on the life of a gay and a lesbian. The film went well at the box office. Starring Rajkummar Rao and Bhumi Padenkar, the film revolves around the story of a policeman and physical education female teacher who binds themselves into a marriage under family pressure and for hiding their real identities as gay and lesbian respectively. They further involve into extra marital affairs with their boyfriend and girlfriend, which remains unknown to both the families. Troubles began when the couple was forced to have a baby from their families.
As the events unfold, woman’s mother in law catches her in bed with another woman. This creates a havoc for them. But they relieved themselves from all the lies and hidden secrets, which allowed them to openly accept and love their partners. In support of LGBTQ, they launched a role while closing the film to inspire and teach everyone a lesson. All four of them, the couple and their boyfriend and girlfriend collectively adopt a child to experience parenting. The film made everyone applaud the performances and the lessons it reflected. Initially, hiding your real identity might feel right but as you grow, it would feel like a caged bird in an open and secular country. Overall, the film makes a complete family entertainer with its humour and comedy, plus it also bravely addresses a social message.
Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui (2021)
Another recent film, starring Ayushmann Khurrana and Vaani Kapoor brought to us another important message through their excellent film. The film portrays the story of a fitness freak, who falls for a Zumba instructor and both start dating each other. But things take a turn when the bodybuilder discovers that the woman he loves, underwent a sex change operation. He feels ashamed and disgusted for falling in love with a body formerly of a man, and therefore, breaks up with her. The instructor felt humiliated after receiving so much insult and disrespect from her lover. She got abandoned even by her family after she decided to change her sex. But later reunites with them at the end of the film. She even found her love back, when he realized his mistake and admitted the same.
The film won plaudits from all over the country and even the LGBTQ community. The public asked the director regarding casting a transgender in Vaani’s role in the film. To this, he replied back saying that such film came out for the first time in India and therefore, a leading lady appeals more to the public than anyone else. The film opens the doors for many actors and directors to consider making films with such content and message. While in the West, a transgender wins the Golden Globe for a performance, India still remains a bit behind. It’s high time to consider transgenders a part of us, our society and our community.
Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga (2019)
Some love stories remain classic yet complex, and one such story is introduced in this film. The film tells us the story of a closeted lesbian, played by Sonam Kapoor and her efforts to open about her sexuality to her conservative and traditional Punjabi family. Sonam, under the constant pressure of her family to marry a decent man tries to avoid the topic. Upon meeting a male playwriter, he fell in love with Sonam and misunderstood her feelings as love. Sonam’s family too took their relationship as an affair, which later turns into an engagement. Whereas Sonam loved another woman, who later reunites with her after revealing everything to her family. The family initially criticises her due to their conservative beliefs but finally accepts her and her girlfriend.
Along with Sonam, the film also casts Anil Kapoor, Juhi Chawla and Rajkummar Rao. Ironically, the real world father-daughter duo of Anil and Sonam played their roles in the film as well. Also, this was the first Bollywood film to be based on full-fledged lesbian relationships after the Indian government legalized gay marriages and gave rights to the LGBTQ community. The film showcases a powerful message through its amazing cast and storyline.
Two friends, Kunal and Sam pretend to be a gay couple to find an apartment together. But both of them end up felling in love with their female flatmate, Neha. But later on, they find out that Neha is in a relationship with a third person. The title itself revolves around friendship, and the story again reminds us of keeping friendship in place where love cannot fit. This still remains as one of the earliest Bollywood movies on LGBT to bring the concept of gay friendship in Indian cinema. The director initially thought of making a friendship tale of three friends who live together but later, he thought of touching upon the social stigma of homosexuality to bring uniqueness in the film.
This was the first mainstream Bollywood film to explore sexual orientation and therefore, it raised some voices against the film. The actors even took the plunge to the extent of even showing a prolonged smooch in the film. The LGBT rights activists rejoiced on release of this film over the fact that Indian cinema finally took some revolutionary step. The way the mother accepts his son’s identity, left the audience inspired and expanded their horizons. The film featured Abhishek Bachchan, Priyanka Chopra and John Abraham in the lead roles. The sequel of this film is in the making, starring Laksh Lalwani and Janhvi Kapoor.
Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan (2020)
Presenting the love life of two gay men, the story depicts their struggles to convince their families. Things never go easy whenever a revolution takes place in society. Ayushmann Khurrana along with Jitendra Kumar came forward to bring something exceptional to the cinema. The film takes their journey to a secret marriage, but their secret unveils very soon, putting their family into a shocking state. At that moment, police arrives at the scene to arrest both of them for their sexuality. The very next day, Supreme Court announces it’s judgement to decriminalise homosexuality in the film.
The film surely gives a nudge that’s required to the narrow-minded parents and guardians. The story totally has social relevance, though in the form of comedy, it spreads out a strong and powerful lesson. Meanwhile, another point that comes into the picture is the lack of understanding and communication between parents and their offspring. Though one out of the couple gathered courage to reveal everything to his family, who even accepted him, the case remains opposite for the other one, who faces lack of audacity to face his parents with the truth, who disgusts such things. The predecessor of this film, “Shubh Mangal Savdhaan” too focussed on a social masculinity issue ‘erectile dysfunction’.
“Love is never wrong” — Melissa Etheridge
Bollywood movies based on LGBT rights have always raised some objections and criticisms. Such criticisms are bound to settle, not instantly but gradually as the time passes. Through Bollywood movies based on LGBT, the actors and the filmmakers convey their feelings to make this world a better place to live. Discriminating on the basis of sex, caste, creed, or color pulls you backward in the long run because as the society evolves, the people and their mindsets progresses too, sometimes at a faster pace and the other times, at a slower speed. Let’s watch these Bollywood movies on LGBT rights and try to make a change. We support LBGT community! Happy weekend.