If you are looking for Indian shows and films that have attempted to portray the nuances of LGBTQ stories, and somewhat did justice to them, here we have curated some binge-worthy titles that will live up to your expectations. From the rights of queer people, the prejudice they face to some tales of self-love and acceptance, these Indian shows and films covers a huge range.
Upon its release in 1996, Fire opened to several criticisms, hate and protest for being one of the first mainstream Bollywood films to talk about lesbian relationships openly. However, it paved the way for discussion of LGBTQ stories in mainstream media, albeit in slow progress. It follows the story of two sisters-in-law (Nandita Das and Shabana Azmi) who find solace, peace and love in each other after both of them being in an unsuccessful, unfulfilling marriage.
Memories in March
Memories in March show a mother coming to terms with her son’s sexuality, and trying to understand it through her lens. Only, her son is dead, and it is his lover who helps her through the entire ordeal of accepting his son for who he was. It is directed by Sanjoy Nag and stars late filmmaker Rituparno Ghosh, Deepti Naval and Raima Sen in pivotal roles.
Hansal Mehta’s Aligarh tells the heart wrenching true story of Professor Ramchandra Siras (played by Manoj Bajpayee) of Aligarh Muslim University who was sacked from his position at the university after a sting operation on him revealed him having sex with a male rickshaw puller. A journalist (Rajkumar Rao) takes sympathy in his incident and his efforts make the court take up his case.
The third instalment of this anthology film, Neeraj Ghaywan’s Geeli Pucchi is one of the recent productions that deal with lesbian relationships through two women Bharti and Priya, portrayed by Konkona Sen Sharma and Aditi Rao Hydari respectively. While the former is well aware of her preferences, the latter is yet to discover herself, though her actions give the hint that she has always been in love with women. The short adds another important layer of caste-based discrimination that stands in the way of the characters in their journey to discover their true selves.
Made in Heaven
While the main plot deals with Karan and Tara establishing their business, one of the subplots shows Karan’s struggle as a homosexual man in a metropolitan city and his relationships that have shaped his life in a certain way. However, while Karan, despite the risks he faces, is open about his identity, his landlord who reveals his homosexuality to him after a series of misfortunate events, still lives in fear. Their struggles, which are different but arise from the same problem of homophobia around them, form a major highlight of the show.
The Married Woman
In The Married Woman, Ekta Kapoor took a break from portraying the ‘saas-bahu’ dynamics of women and explored a story of love between the show’s two leads. It follows Astha (Ridhi Dogra), a married woman whose life is no different from the stereotypical mother and wife. When she meets Piplika (Monica Dogra), a carefree woman, she starts breaking out of those societal norms and both find love within each other. Directed by Sahir Raza, The Married Woman is based on Manju Kapur’s novel of the same name, and it released on Alt Balaji this year on International Women’s Day.
The ‘Other’ Love Story
The ‘Other’ Love Story by Roopa Rao is credited as India’s first televised same-sex love story. It is set in the 90’s era where people are not yet completely dependent on cell phone and technology and love is conveyed through letters and cards. The story focuses on Aadya and Aachal’s journey of meeting, falling in love and mustering the courage to accept and fight for their love in an era where same-sex relationships are taboo.