Monday, June 30, 2014

Sexuality in Bollywood: Treatment of Homosexuals and Transvestites Part Two

Isha Koppikar and Amrita Arora "Girlfriend" Bollywood lesbians gay
Isha Koppikar and Amrita Arora "Girlfriend"
The mature stance which My Brother…Nikhil and Fashion occupied, starkly contrasts Girlfriend [2004]. This film shines the spotlight on lesbianism and has one of the leading ladies, Isha Koppikar, playing the role of a lesbian. The movie represents Koppikar as an insane, violent lesbian fueled by her jealousy towards the male who has suddenly whisked away the woman she lusts after, Amrita Arora. The ground of this movie is shaky. Koppikar’s reason for despising men is a result of her father’s physical abuse on her mother.

Even though Koppikar and Arora’s relationship is blatantly homosexual in nature, Arora seems totally unaware of this. During her explanation to her boyfriend, Aashish Chaudhary, Arora innocently explains that she is not considered a lesbian, because alcohol impaired her judgment the night she had intimate relations with Koppikar. Her boyfriend readily accepts this explanation as legitimate. As her aggression towards men soars, Koppikar becomes more mannish. She cuts her hair into a short boy cut, stereotypical to lesbians, and dresses more boyish. Her unstable mental balance and her attachment to Arora, causes her to attack and eventually try to kill Chaudhary. Girlfriend inaccurately illustrates lesbians as women possessing masculine traits in its unhinged plot. It makes no attempt to sensibly approach lesbianism, but just offers to entertainment to the audiences with a bizarre story-line. 

funny Abhishek Bachchan and John Abraham "Dostana" Bollywood GIF Gay Homosexual
Abhishek Bachchan and John Abraham "Dostana"
Another entertainer of recent times, Dostana [2008], pokes fun at homosexuality by exaggerating the feminine qualities of gay men. This big budget film focuses on the two leading men, Abhishek Bachchan and John Abraham, who pretend to be gay to rent an rooms in an apartment with their mutual love interest, Priyanka Chopra. As straight men in the movie and real life, Bachchan and Abraham’s representation of homosexual males is over the top. Their girlish behavior in the scene where Bachchan and Abraham explain how they met has the ability to offend the gay community repeatedly.

Stereotypes are stressed with in this scene. When they meet, Bachchan is seen a flamboyant outfit topped with a rainbow scarf and Abraham is dressed with a see through shirt accessorized with a spiked collar. There are sailor outfits, flowers, and joyous skipping in the later moments of the scene. True gay characters also exist in this film, but these characters are extremely feminine as well. Tarun Mansukhani, the director of Dostana, says “ ‘If you scream from the rooftops in favour of gay issues, it will not work. Give it some time. Let us begin by having some fun with it.The time will come when the nation would open up and we'd see their true and sensitive representation in commercial cinema.’”.
Dunno Y Na Jaane Kyun Gay Males Bollywood Homosexual
Donno Y Na Jaane Kyun

By experimenting with homosexuality and humor in his film, Manusukhani is softening the Indian audiences to the representation of homosexuality in Bollywood film. In the future, this could give other filmmakers a chance to explore homosexuality as a central plot, perhaps more thoughtfully, like My Brother…Nikhil. Nevertheless, the fact a mainstream, blockbuster movie possesses principal, seemingly gay characters is confirmation that India is becoming more receptive of movies that represent different sexual orientations.

Read Part One Here: Sexuality in Bollywood: Treatment of Homosexuals and Transvestites Part One