Lesbian-Themed Film in India Stirs Anger
U.K., June 15, 2004
By Ben Townley, Gay.com U.K.
SUMMARY: The Bollywood film industry was shaken on
Monday after a cinema in the Indian city of Bombay was attacked for showing a
new lesbian-themed movie.
The Bollywood film industry was shaken on Monday after a
cinema in the Indian city of Bombay was attacked for showing a new
Far-right Hindu extremists protested outside the cinema
after it showed “Girlfriend,” the first Bollywood film to deal with
The angry members of the Shiv Sena party, mostly
students, smashed windows and burnt effigies in the street, press reports
claim, saying they were disgusted at the film for depicting a relationship
between two women.
While India’s film industry is the biggest in the
world, it mainly shows straightforward love stories that are tame by Western
“What one does in the bedroom and bathroom should not
be displayed publicly,” Shiv Sena leader Arun Pathak told the Reuters news
agency. “We’ll not allow such a film to be screened.”
However, Indian authorities have deployed police Tuesday
to ensure those wishing to view the film are not restricted. They hope that
such a presence will stop any more protests from taking place.
Gay cinema has had a turbulent past in India, where
issues surrounding sexual diversity are still taboo. Earlier this year, an
Indian film depicting gay men and drag queens premiered in the United Kingdom,
after it was banned in its home country.
Sridhar Rangaihn, director of the banned film, “Pink
Mirror,” said he hoped the U.K. showing of the film would help expose the
“contract of silence” that the country’s lesbian and gay population are
forced to endure.
Nearly six years ago, the Shiv Sena party held similar
demonstrations against the film “Fire,” the first Indian film in wide
release to depict lesbian relationships.
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