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Bollywood gay film touted as India’s Brokeback Mountain

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  1. Looking forward to watching it, although I hope at least one of the characters will have a hairy chest and won’t look as revolting as the guy in the poster.

  2. @poustis
    hairy chests, no doubt very important to film’s message

  3. And America still gets its panties in a bunch over a musician snogging a man onstage…

  4. Brian Burton 28 Jan 2010, 6:39pm

    Hooray for Bollywood, Hooray, Hooray, Hooray for Bollywood…..!!!

  5. Jean-Paul Bentham 28 Jan 2010, 7:19pm

    This is good news. Young Indian gays need role models as we all do. In fact, this film may have something to teach us too. Bollywood has put out some highly sensitive and relevant films

  6. Bollywood has put out some highly sensitive and relevant films

    Has it, JPB? LIke what? I can think of Fire but by no stretch of the imagination could that be classified as ‘Bollywood’ (it’d be like saying Shortbus is a product of Hollywood).

  7. Brian Burton 29 Jan 2010, 12:47am

    Rehan,
    Your talking rubbish…Bollywood has produced some masterpieces in recent years. You must be plain anti-Bollywood.

  8. Amazing to hear, judging by the photo it’s going to be pretty hot stuff!! :-))

  9. Jean-Paul Bentham 29 Jan 2010, 2:37am

    @6 Rehan,

    Actually I did have Fire in mind, as well as Water. I saw both films twice and would recommend them to anyone.

    We don’t get too many Bollywood films on this side of the pond, but I wouldn’t be surprised that as an entertainment industry, Bollywood does resemble Hollywood insofar as all their films are not all Academy Award caliber performances.

    For that matter, Brokeback Mountain disappointed many of us who felt that these gay guys had ruined the lives of two women.

    The fact remains that it was a gay-themed movie from a major studio, so that is an indication that there is a market for these films. More and more gays expect gay-themed films, and the closer to reality, the better.

    I wouldn’t comment further on this one till I saw it, but I would approach it with a open mind.

    Yes, I’ve heard the one about my mind being so open that my brains fell out!

  10. @Brian Burton: before accusing me of talking rubbish, you might like to provide some examples of these ‘masterpices’ (if you can). My experience of Bollywood films is limited I admit, since I bore quickly of trite storylines, patronising stereotypes and irrelevant song-and-dance routines with bad continuity. Also, they’re so damn’ long, since they’re principally aimed at an audience that demands value for money in terms of quantity.

    (I hope you don’t mistakenly think any film made in the SubContinent can automatically be classified as ‘Bollywood’. The great Bengali films of Satyajit Ray can’t possibly be considered even related to Bollywood except by people with a scant knowledge of culture, language or geography.)

  11. @ JPB (9): Actually, of the two Bollywood is the larger industry, so it’s probably fairer to say Hollywood resembles it than the other way round!

    Like you, I’m very happy to hear the mainstream industry has announced it’s going to try a gay subject. All I was saying is that a film like Fire is pretty much irrelevant to this discussion, as it was an arthouse effort seen by only the tiniest minority of people in India.

    @ Jasper (3): Please remember that even heterosexual kissing is still seen as controversial in Bollywood convention.

  12. Homoerotic images in Hindu temples to repressive homophobia learned from Victorian British colonialism to the tentative re-emergence of celebrating homosexuality – in two long centuries! History is very strange.

  13. Its will get people talking

  14. Jean-Paul Bentham 29 Jan 2010, 3:42pm

    What can I say? I love a learning experience. I actually did think that any film made in the Indian Subcontinent was “Bollywood”. Go figure.

  15. Adrian T – certainly this photo is delightfully errotic; this morning’s “Times” had the much-sanitized head and shoulder version only and didn’t have half the impact that this has!

  16. Good heavens, JPB – India’s the size of Western and Central Europe and within its population of over a billion people there are more than a dozen languages spoken by over 10m people each! How can you think all its films could fall under the one banner?

    It’s a great step forward that a gay subject is even considered for anything other than a laugh, of course. It’ll be interesting to see whether the film will ever be put on general release.

  17. Brian Burton 29 Jan 2010, 5:55pm

    Rehan,
    We live in an age that reads too much to be wise and that thinks too much to be beatiful.

  18. Jean-Paul Bentham 29 Jan 2010, 7:08pm

    Well Rehan,

    You have the advantage of knowing more about the Indian culture than the average person, and I’m glad to hear it, frankly.

    I love movies, but I must admit that before independent studios started releasing more or less well-made gay-themed films in the States, I thought, and I think I was right, that every film made in America was Hollywood.

    Then when Hollywood started putting out gay-themed films to get into the market, I realized that a badly or cheaply made independent gay-themed film was 1000 times better than the asinine ‘gay movies’ coming out of Hollywood, starting in the 80′s.

    On the other hand, there is the argument that homosexuality has always been present in Hollywood films although it was disguised.

    In his book, “The Celluloid Closet”, Vito Russo takes us through hundreds of examples of gay stereotypes used in Hollywood films since the very beginning of the 20th century, and of how christian-inspired homophobia censored every scene, every move.

    The book is now accompanied by a DVD narrated by Tom Hanks, Whoopi Goldberg, Lily Tomlin, Susan Sarandon, Harvey Fierstein, Tony Curtis, Shirley MacLaine and the one and only Armistad Maupin to name only a few, and it contains vintage footage going all the way back to Thomas Edison’s ‘Dancing Partners’.

    “Foreign films” only began to appear on my radar about 10 years ago, and I sorely regret having missed so many excellent movies because of the extra effort I would have had to make to read the subtitles.

    We will never cease discovering things, and that’s great by me.

    I only hope that this Indian gay-themed movie doesn’t turn out to be a stainless-steel balloon, don’t you.

  19. @ Brian Burton: thanks for a maxim as profound as the average Bollywood musical. Still no examples of the ‘masterpieces’ though, I note.

    @ JPB: Do remember that the USA is largely a monoglot society so perhaps it’s less surprising that most films [used to] come from the one source. A great Bengali filmmaker like Ray, however, would have been as likely to make a film in Mumbai as Ingmar Bergman in Cinecitta, for roughly the same reasons I should think.

    I love Russo’s book, and the telling part is his Necrology at the end, listing the way gay characters used to inevitably get killed off – unfortunately that’d even include Brokeback Mountain, wouldn’t it? A happy ending for gay characters, now there’s an original thought!

  20. Jean-Paul Bentham 29 Jan 2010, 11:11pm

    @19 R:

    Thanks for the feedback. I will make a point of looking up the Bengali filmmaker Satyajit Ray, perhaps on Amazon.com.

    Of course I know what you mean about the Necrology in Vito Russo’s book. Gay characters in Hollywood films are typically murdered or commit suicide, with the exception of J.Edgar Hoover who died of old age.

    I was particularly surprised and forever touched by the way Molina, played by William Hurt, was shot in “The Kiss of the Spider Woman”, a 2-hour film if ever there was one which is more of a collector’s item than anything else…from Brazil, I believe.

    Happy endings for gay characters are more likely these days, e.g. “A Touch of Pink”, “Inside Out”, and my personal favorite, “Trick”.

    Also, a book like “Gay Cinematherapy”, The Queer Guy’s Guide to Finding Your Rainbow One Movie at a Time”, written by Jason Bergund and Beverly West, helps to put the ‘fan’ back in fantastic. On page 61, for example, we are reminded that circumstances contribute to the sharpest tongue-in-cheek comment in “Green Fried Tomatoes”: “Secret’s in the sauce” uttered by Cicely Tyson in the role of Sipsey.

    But still, I do prefer gay-themed films produced by independent studios, which I presume Bollywood is not.

  21. Brian Burton 30 Jan 2010, 8:28am

    Rehan, You are far too full of your own self-importance to listen to anyone else.

  22. I am from India. I am not sure how many heterosexual people will see this film. There is still a stigma with being gay despite positive representation of late, and I think that will prevent family audiences from seeing the movie. As far as the censors go, this film will most likely get an A (similar to USA’s R) certificate. A recent Bollywood movie (Jail) originally had a lot of gay scenes but the director had to delete most of them because he was not willing to accept the A certificate.

  23. Jean-Paul Bentham 30 Jan 2010, 5:46pm

    @RTM:

    Good to hear from you.

    When the “Bombay Dost” started to re-publish late last year (I do have my copy in pristine condition), I thought for sure that things were moving in the right direction in India as far as we are concerned.

    Then, there were the the articles in Pink. They are listed at the end of this article as “related articles”, notably this one:

    http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2010/01/21/video-india-awaits-final-ruling-on-gay-sex/

    Homophobia will forever stagger my imagination, especially since we gays are such ordinary people in our everyday lives.

    I could add that even here in Canada where everything is nice and legal, homophobia is as visible as ever, and not too much is being done in our education system to validate the wide spectrum of sexual orientation. See EGALE.com about that.

    As far as heterosexual people seeing this movie, I have found that my relatives, and those of my same-sex partner of 20 years, are prone to worm around in their chairs when viewing even a harmless, porn-free gay-themed comedy like “A Touch of Pink” or “Inside Out” at our place. Yet, we are expected to sit through hours of straight movies as if we can identify with any of the characters.

    My point being that there must be a sufficiently large enough gay audience in India to support this new movie, and to advance our cause of Equal Rights for All.

    And please, don’t be a stranger.

  24. Jean-Paul Bentham 30 Jan 2010, 9:47pm

    How the Canadian education system is failing queer youth:

    http://www.xtra.ca/public/National.aspx

  25. @JPB:

    Yes, we are expected to watch straight movies, dance in their marriages, give them gifts when they have a child, and still expect to be bashed all along.

    It is always a crime to be in a minority. :(

    By the way I commented on the other pink news article (regarding Indian Supreme Court considering the issue).

    As far as my identity is concerned, I am not very comfortable using my real name (because of as I said a social stigma attached to being gay). I am out to my parents and a few friends (and they all support me). This year I am hoping to come out to some of my cousins before finally taking the plunge – going to Delhi’s 3rd pride parade (with my parents).

    However, I have to perform a lot of calculations in my mind before doing this. My company officially bans discrimination against LGBTs, but of course individual co-workers can become biased against me. My landlord (a very busy man) is absolutely unconcerned by what I and my roommates do with the flat, as long as we pay him the rent. But if I out myself now , I might find it difficult to get newer roommates (my present roommates are both about to get married).

    So, at this moment let me remain anonymous. I will definitely come out on this forum too once I am out at the pride parades. But I don’t want to handle it delicately.

    As far as enough gay Indian audience goes, I don’t think we are there yet. I don’t remember Milk or Brokeback Mountain being huge commercial successes in India.

  26. “But I don’t want to handle it delicately.”

    What I meant was, I DO want to handle this delicately! :)

    And JPB, I have seen you show quite an interest in India related topics. Do you have a connection or an affinity with this country?

  27. Jean-Paul Bentham 31 Jan 2010, 7:59pm

    @RTM:

    My favorite gay site is called GlobalGayz:

    http://www.globalgayz.com/

    I am interested in the welfare of ALL my gay brothers, as the majority of us here at pink are. I am a French-Canadian, so that our histories as colonies of Great Britain have a certain similarity. When Clive was governing India, Amherst was governing Canada (c. 1760).

    Besides that, having been brought up in a rather narrow environment, I am prone to be highly curious regarding other cultures.

    A few people who comment on Pink actually do use their real names, but you must have noticed that many use pseudonyms and that’s perfectly alright. Everyone has to follow his his/her own instincts. My own name is only partially true. I admire the English philosopher, Jeremy Bentham, that’s all. I especially liked his attitude towards homophobia; his was a liberating spirit at a time when ‘sodomites’ were being burnt alive at Charring Cross, and elsewhere throughout Europe.

    Did you know that you can become a member of Pink, free of charge, by going to mypinknews.com, signing in using your same initials so that I will recognize you, give as little or as much information as you want in your public profile, and enjoy this site to its full extent?

    If you decide to join, I will notice you and I will be in touch with you. I would like to journey with you for awhile. I am a senior.

    Getting back on topic, yes, we are expected to participate in all straight events as if they are meaningful to us. My plastic took a wicked blow this past Christmas playing Santa Claus to a number of nieces and nephews, and I received practically nothing in return. Such a farce, as all religious holidays are as far as I’m concerned.

    It was interesting to hear that there is not enough of a gay audience in India to keep this movie afloat. This is the kind of information that is valuable to us here in Canada. Unless we have actually visited India, Bombay, Pondicherry and even the river Ganges are only names to us; there is no reality glued to the words, only our imaginations. I suppose the same is true when you think of Canada.

    Whether or not you decide to join, I enjoy chatting with you.

  28. Jean-Paul Bentham 31 Jan 2010, 8:19pm

    That’s http://www.mypinknews.co.uk/

    I just read your other comment.

  29. @ Brian Burton You are far too full of your own self-importance to listen to anyone else.

    Actually I am perfectly willing to listen to people who know how to substantiate their claims. I note you still avoid answering a straightforward question (by personal abuse, very mature of you) and will have to assume you just can’t.

  30. Brian Burton 1 Feb 2010, 8:08am

    Rehan, can’t you take a hint?…get stuffed!

  31. Oh I can Brian, I can. I can read between the lines too, so thanks for the confirmation that your earlier assertion was bollocks and you’re not man enough to admit it.

  32. Rehan, I would recommend you to watch the following Bollywood movies:

    1) Taare Zameen Par
    2) 3 Idiots
    3) Thoda Pyar Thoda Magic
    4) Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham
    5) Dil Se
    6) Baghban
    7) Black (this is based on a foreign movie, but still very beautiful)
    8) Lagaan
    9) Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge
    10) Jaane bhi do yaaro
    11) Veer Zaara
    12) Devdas

    [in no particular order]

    Unlike Fire and Water, all of these above are genuine Bollywood movies. And very beautiful too. There are many more that come to my mind and many more that I don’t even know of, but I hope you get the point.

    [And this is from an Indian who is himself not very fond of Bollywood.]

  33. And by the way, for a country like India, Dostana was a big start! It brought the issue about homosexuality out in the open, albeit in a funny way. I liked it. :)

  34. Jean-Paul Bentham 1 Feb 2010, 8:47pm

    I did a bit of research on Anil Sharma, director of this movie, “Dunno Y…Jaana Kyun”.

    Turns out that the main character in this movie is played by Anil Sharma’s younger brother, Kapil Sharma.

    Also, Anil Sharma has been putting out popular movies of all kinds since the 80′s and one of them, whose name escapes me, was an animated film about krishna with the most ingenious computer engineering I’ve ever seen.

    Also, a clip of his film, “Veer”, reminds me of Hollywood’s “The Terminator” starring Arnold what’s-his-name, now governor of California, I believe.

    The things you learn on Pink!

  35. Jean-Paul Bentham 2 Feb 2010, 3:15am

    Also, I found out that the director of “Fire” and “Water” is actually a Canadian and that she also directed a more troublesome film called “Earth” which I also saw and thought quite educational.
    A triumphant trilogy!

  36. Thanks RTM, very helpful.

    The only one I can be certain of having seen (I’ve seen a number on long flights to the SubContinent, but I’m afraid I can’t always remember the titles) is Lagaan, and I have to say that although it was mildly entertaining (if too long), I found the crude race and class stereotypes – and hopeless historical constuming – prevented it from being, in my eyes, capable of being considered a good film.

  37. Ouch! well there are a lot of very persnickety people out there, lol i dunno – I’ve pretty much given up on trying to interface with and or fit in to , hetero or sraight culture. it seems to me that like the American Right and the wealthy they just keep shifting and changing the game plan and rules as suits them. Someone always has to play teh mongrel or the outcast or the stranger or the misfit so that “they’ can maintain power and control. We’ve had to develop our OWN rules and traditions, since they shunned us. fine with me, really.. i have no interest in boxing with the Earl of Sandwich. but yes, Anything to ease up on the reprehensible discrimination is awesome.. now lets move on to the umpteen OTHER areas left over : transgender discrimination, age discrimination, …. there’s always some new low man on the totem pole to keep the hierarchy going

  38. @ Rehan:

    The list that I gave above was on the basis of my understanding of your personality. All those movies are strong emotional dramas or romance genre, with some mild comedy.

    If you like movies of other genres, Bollywood still has a plenty to offer. While it may be safe to say that 90% of Bollywood production is trash, some of the rest 10% are really really good!

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