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Homosexuality not Indian audience's cup of tea

Nov 18, 2008 01:31 AM IST India India

Mumbai: Dostana has just released and people are talking about the chemistry between John Abraham and Abhishek Bachchan in the movie. They pretend to be a gay couple in the film. This is for the first time that a mainstream Hindi film has its lead stars pretending to be gay and so it was obvious that the community did not react positively. One in every ten men is gay and one in every twenty women is a lesbian. Homosexuality is an issue that society cannot shy away from, yet Bollywood has often used the same issue as a point of ridicule or to titillate and has rarely been sensitive about it. So while Hindi films often show gay men to be effeminate and there by comical, a few others try to push the envelope with works like My Brother Nikhil or Rules Pyaar Ka Superhit Formula. This was for the first time that a mainstream Hindi film has its lead stars - Abhishek and John - pretending to be gay in the movie but reactions were not that positive. “It is the same old story, portraying guys as effeminate, sex starved men who cannot control their libidos and it is not something we have not seen before,” says Humsafar Trust trustee Nitin Karani. “This is the first wave. I don’t know whether they do more harm because they are somewhat stereotypical,” says Verve magazine Editorial Director Parmesh Shahani. But there are other voices as well who appreciate the fact that at least mainstream cinema is opening up to such themes. "It is not a flagship film for the gay community, but it is taking the word gay to the mainstream atleast,” says filmmaker Sridhar Rangayan. And for the producer of the film, acceptance about people's sexuality seems to be the key. “As a human being everyone has the freedom to their sexuality. Whether you are a man or a woman you are allowed to love anyone,” says director Karan Johar. It has been a mixed bag of reactions from the gay community after Dostana was released. While some loved the movie, others hated it. Perhaps it will take some time before Bollywood can dole out a film about gay community that is real.