Of late several films dealing with homosexuality have received boxoffice attention in varying degrees. Most remarkable of these was Kapoor & Sons a mainstream state-of-the-art Karan Johar film about a dysfunctional family where it is revealed that the elder son is gay.
No major production house had dealt with a film about a homosexual protagonist before. In the Karan Joharproduced Dostana, John Abraham and Abhishek Bachchan only PRETENDED to be gay , so all was well with the heterosexual world.
Significantly an actor Fawad Khan from Pakistan played the lead in Kapoor & Sons. Apparently the role was turned down by many A-listers from Bollywood before Fawad took up the challenge.
In Hansal Mehta’s Aligarh Manoj Bajpai dared to play the real-life disgraced professor from Aligarh University who was caught having sex with a rickshaw puller.Significantly Nawazuddin Siddiqui had said no to the part.
The problem with doing mainstream cinema on alternate sexuality is A-list Bollywood stars don’t wish to participate . Such films, thought thoughtprovoking and pathbreaking , have to be made with actors who don’t have a boxoffice clout. Resultantly a film like Rikhil Bahadur’s Time Out , though significant, opened to empty houses.
The filmstarred the unknown Pranay Pachauri as the ideal elder son who is forced to come out of the closet after his kid-brother catches him in bed with a man.
In the recent Dead Dad debutant director Tanuj Bharmar had to force Arvind Swamy out of retirement to play a father of two growing children who decides to come out of the closet.
Says a prominent filmmaker who is working on a bio-pic on gay filmmaker Rituparno Ghosh, “Films about homosexuality are being made, yes. But without stars they have no market. Aligarh was a brilliant film. Time Out and Dear Dad were also good. But how many people saw these films? Audiences saw Karan Johar’sKapoor & Sons because it had stars in the cast.”