Parents Disowned Their Son for Portraying a Gay Character in a Bollywood Film

December 12, 2012 at 2:28 am Leave a comment

Most of us have seen the short film Still Life With directed by Ami Patel in the family shorts program during the film festival. The film explores the issues a south Asian women faces with her family for being in a relationship with another women. Queer south Asian issues are not usually portrayed in films since the idea of queer south Asians is not well accepted by the south Asian community. I have not seen a single mainstream film in Bollywood or Hollywood that displays south Asian queer issues. Still Life With was a short narrative so the amount of people who have viewed the film is little. If the film was screened to a larger audience in South Asia, especially, the film would have caused national controversies since queer issues in association with south Asians are not well received by the South Asian community. I did some research and found out that in 2010, an Indian film named DUNNO Y…NA JAANE KYUN, directed by Sanjay Sharma, was premiered in Mumbai International Queer Film Festival. This was the first film in which there were portrayals of South Asian queers kissing and making love. After the film released, there were many controversies. 

The parents of one of the cast member, Yuvraaj, went to court to disown their son. They were embarrassed by the shame that was brought up on their family for playing the character of a queer south Asian. The parents told Yuvraaj to leave their home and never to return. They wanted to legally disown their son. Satish, Yuvraaj’s father believes Yuvraaj will never get a girl to marry him. In an article I found online, the father said “’His mother is totally devastated,’ said the aggrieved father. “We are a respected family and I’m appalled that he is playing a gay man’s role. We’re finished. All the dreams and hopes we had built around him are over. For just a film role, he has lost out on his blood ties. We don’t want to see his face ever… not even when we are dying.’” It is extremely appalling to know how the queer south Asians are treated by the south Asian community. Just for acting as a gay south Asian, a cast member’s family disowned him.

The film also had national outcry for the kissing scene and love scene. The Indian film board tried to censor the kissing scenes in the film due to the homosexual scenes. The director of the film said, “Why should the censors be scandalised if two men are kissing and making love? The ones in my film are very aesthetic. And so what if it’s two men making love? Love is love regardless of gender.” But in south Asian community, love is love only if there is a man and woman involved, not people of the same sex. I am not sure when the south Asian community will start to tolerate queer individuals. I am disgusted by the fact that queer south Asians have to hide their true identity to be part of the society, and I hope this changes very soon.

 

Sources: 

http://bestgaynewsmagazine.com/2010/10/05/gay-film-in-india-sparks-homophobiadunno-yna-jaane-kyun.aspx

http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2010-09-26/news-interviews/28264742_1_yuvraaj-disowns-jaane-kyun

 

-Kanna Jeyaseelan

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