6th September marks one year anniversary of discrimination of Section 377of the Indian Penal Code, the British law which criminalized same-sex intercourse as ‘unnatural’ and ‘illegal’.
This year, the month of September is going to be full of joy and festivities for the LGBTQ community in the country. And in order to celebrate this day, many institutions have arranged events which are dedicated to the LGBTQIA+ community. Everyone can participate because there is something for everyone.
The people all around the country are celebrating this occasion in their own way, and style. Tweeting around and sharing their life after coming out which was given a boost by the decision of revoking article 377 by the court in 2018.
However, there is still more to be done when it comes to portraying the LGBTQ characters in Bollywood films. Majority of the times, the characters belonging to the queer community are represented as complicated, twisted, apathetic, and even insufficient.
Deepa Mehta had directed a film titled ‘Fire’ which starred Shabana Azmi and Nandita Das herself. The film revolved around the warm relationship between two females who were trapped in a marriage which had no affection. The film was made five years before the PIL was filed by the Naz Foundation to challenge Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code.
But with evolving times, the scene is somewhat changing. With films like ‘Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga’, ‘Kapoor And Sons’, and ‘Aligarh’ and Netflix series like ‘Made In Heaven’ the scenario os LGBTQIA characters in the Bollywood is improving, and the audience is also becoming more accepting of such characters. But the journey has not been like it was supposed to be.
Bollywood director Onir who has been very open and frank about his sexuality has started feeling more empowered about his true self. He says “It's the first step towards being equal citizens." He also feels that the community no longer feels, "vindicated, or like criminals. A lot of people are out in the open because the threat and fear of blackmail is no longer there. One can fight back.”
But the director feels that the change in representing the characters has just started. He says, “We are the biggest film-making country in the world. And in the last one year, 'Ek Ladki ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga' is the only mainstream movie you can name. You cannot name a second. Films like Fire, 20 years ago, and Aligarh, and My Brother...Nikhil, these were films that were ground-breaking, because they were made in a time when it was still illegal. That's what makes them bolder.”View this post on Instagram
It’s been a year since the SC ruling . A date to remember 6th sept 2018 . A historic win for human rights activists. A win for dignity inclusion and love . Today we need to acknowledge all those amazing people who for years campaigned for our rights , Gratitude. It is also important to remember and speak up as we celebrate our freedom ... for the democratic rights of our fellow citizens in Kashmir . The soul of this country is in diversity inclusion and democratic rights of every individual. Today I pray for peace and love to flourish once again . https://www.news18.com/news/buzz/where-are-the-bold-films-a-year-after-section-377-film-director-onir-says-theres-a-long-way-to-go-2298519.html Pic courtesy @sanjaysuri
Talking about the positive start of the change he says “I was so happy to see Arjun Mathur in Made in Heaven, and I feel that soon there will be others. I am excited to see Ayushmann Khurrana's upcoming film.”
Talking like an audience who is excited for the film to release, Onir says “To see a mainstream actor embracing the role will normalize it for so many people, who will realize that is okay to love whoever you choose to love, and be out and open about it.”
He also mentions Dutee Chand and says “When Dutee Chand came out, people looked at her and felt that she's a national star, and she's open about her identity, and loved and still represents India. We can also be the same.”
But, whatever the Bollywood shows and no matter how long it’ll take for the Bollywood to normalize the characters around the LGBTQAI community, the citizens of the country are celebrating the day in full power.
Here are some tweets of the people celebrating the day with pride and bright colors and frolic.