With Section 377 scrapped, films on same-sex love get a shot in the arm
Two Hindi feature films on the subject is due to release in the first two months of 2019 one is multi- starrer Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa and Evening Shadows starring newcomers
After the reading down of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) in September 2018 by the Supreme Court, thereby legalising same-sex love in India, there has been a new focus in making the LGBTQ community more visible through cinema and the arts.
Two Hindi feature films are slated to release in theatres in early 2019 – Evening Shadows directed by Sridhar Rangayan on January 11 and Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga directed by Shelly Chopra Dhar on February 1.
While Evening Shadows, starring Mona Ambegaonkar, Ananth Mahadevan and newcomers Devansh Doshi and Arpit Chaudhary is a heart-warming drama highlighting the struggle of a mother to accept her gay son; the film Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga, starring Sonam Kapoor, Rajkumar Rao and Anil Kapoor, is said to be a coming-of-age romantic comedy-drama. Both films seem to focus on the challenges faced by families in accepting their children who have a different love interest.
“It is a good time for Indian cinema to push the boundaries and put the spotlight on issues which have been hidden and buried till now. Bringing such films to mainstream theatres for the larger audience to see will remove prejudices and pave the way for an equal society,” said Sridhar Rangayan, who is hopeful that Evening Shadows will make an impact on the minds of the audience.
It remains to be seen how the cinema-going audience reacts to these films
Filmmaker Onir, who has handled complex stories of same-sex love in his path-breaking films My Brother Nikhil, I Am and Shab, said, “Post the Supreme Court ruling on Section 377 of the IPC, the New Year begins with a beautiful gift to LGBTQ cinema in India. Evening Shadows, releasing on January 11, will hopefully start a new episode of more such narratives finding their place in our theatres. It’s a film about acceptance and celebrates love.”
It remains to be seen how the cinema-going audience reacts to these films.
“While Evening Shadows has won 13 audience and jury awards, and has been screened at more than 50 international film festivals around the world, the real test would be how mass audiences in India embrace our film,” said Rangayan who has been championing the cause for LGBTQ cinema in India for over two decades with films like Gulabi Aaina, Purple Skies and Breaking Free. He is also one of the main persons behind KASHISH, Mumbai’s LGBTQ film festival. More power to him and his likes.