Movies based on LBGT or lesbian gay bisexual transgender themes are rare in Bollywood and India, mostly because of how ignorant people are regarding the issue. Homophobia is a huge problem in India and there are only few movies that dare to address the same.
Some Indian filmmakers have taken the responsibility to come forward and talk about some of the stereotypes which go hand-in-hand with the tabooed topic of LGBT. Let’s take a look at the movies which tried and managed to make a difference.
1. Aligarh (2016)
The biographical drama follows the story of a Professor Siras who is suspended by the Aligarh University for being homosexual. The movie reflects on his ordeal and the psychological torture he has to go through just for being gay. This LGBT movie opened up many debates of censorship in the mainstream forum too.
2. Fire (1996)
An utterly bold film, Fire was one of the first movies in Bollywood which has tackled the topic of LGBT – more specifically lesbianism. It was a big step in India especially since the denial regarding the issue was brewing. Starring Shabana Azmi and Nandita Das, Fire portrays female sexuality brilliantly and sensitively.
3. Margarita With A Straw (2014)
Margarita With A Straw explores the themes of bisexuality and sexuality among gifted people. The film is definitely a step towards the right direction, since it also shows the Indian mentality towards homosexuality and bisexuality. It was reported that Aamir Khan was in tears after seeing Kalki Koechlin’s portrayal in the movie.
4. My Brother Nikhil (2000)
At a time when AIDS was a taboo subject to touch, My Brother Nikhil shed a light on people’s perception of the disease. The film helmed by Onir is reportedly based on a true story. My Brother Nikhil was received well with Sanjay Suri and Juhi Chawla‘s performance getting a lot of appreciation. This is one of the few Bollywood movies on the LGBT theme than was released well in the mainstream and it reached audiences far and wide.
5. The Journey (2004)
The journey is a Malayalam movie, which narrates the story of two women who are childhood friends and later realize that they are love with each other. The relationship between the characters is shown with great subtly.
6. Memories In March (2010)
Memories In March is an intense drama which follows the story of a mother who is coming to terms with the death of her son. In the process, she learns about her son being gay, something which she has trouble accepting. Laced with stunning music, this movie only gains more meaning because director Rituparno Ghosh himself was known to be bisexual, and constantly grappling with his own gender issues in real life.
7. Tamanna (1998)
Considered as one of Bollywood’s masterpieces, Tamanna’s story follows the life of a eunuch who adopts a baby girl he finds in a dust bin. As the girl gets older and finds out about her father’s sexuality, the movie goes on to a different level, something which was never attempted in Bollywood at the time.
8. Mango Souffle (2002)
Based on a play, Mango Souffle is a comedy movie which gives you an insight into the closeted gay culture in India. The film wasn’t received too well by the critics but it did manage to stay away from any controversies. This movie too can be put into the category of non-mainstream Bollywood LGBT themed movies that not many people know about.
9. Bombay Boys (1998)
Bombay Boys received a lot of flak for its in-your-face presentation of homosexuality. The comedy film follows the life of three NRI’s who travel to India to explore themselves sexually. Bombay Boys also touches upon the various stereotypes associated with homosexuality in India.