“Maybe people are still a little intimidated by community or the idea that some people are different. We imagine that’s some kind of genetic threat to some people,” Gulshan says.
While ‘Badhaai Do’ was one of the few films to hit the high marks for LGBTQIA+ representation, few films manage to do the subject justice. Speaking of the same, Gulshan says, “Some storytellers genuinely accept and include, but some are only included to appease a lobby or take advantage of a trend, which is wrong because it’s not honest and leads to representations. There was an era where queer characters were used for comedy. Well, nothing wrong with that, but when community isn’t properly accepted in mainstream society, it becomes hurtful to be used for comedy. comedy. But I think we’re moving forward now. It’s still not perfect but it’s a lot better than the movies from the 70s to 2000.”
Filmmaker Onir, known for films like ‘My Brother…Nikhil’, ‘I Am’ among others, faced a roadblock with his upcoming film ‘We Are’ as the script was rejected by the military in due to the sexual orientation of an army officer portrayed in the film. Recently, the United Arab Emirates banned Pixar’s animated feature “Lightyear” from showing in theaters after it included a kiss between two lesbian characters. “Eternals” failed to hit box offices in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar because it depicted a same-sex relationship.
Speaking of the same, Gulshan says, “Onir has been fighting battles for a long time and I hope it will become better and easier for him to tell his stories. With regard to certain countries in the Middle East, it is a legal problem. Some of their laws are interpreted or based on religion and that’s the problem with queer stories. I don’t know how to get around this. Time and patience and a genuine approach to trying to get them to have a scientific perspective maybe. Resistance may be due to lack of understanding, religious beliefs or fear of change. It is above all the fear that a certain way of life may cease to exist. Humans are very reluctant to change or accept anything they fear.
When asked how perspectives towards the queer community and stories about their lives would change, he replied, “By being honest and patient and not sending out an army of cancellation to bomb shit out of any kind of resistance. It’s going to take a little while but not forever (in my opinion). An aggressive approach will only create more aggressive opposition because it becomes more about power than what is right. Of course, these things are also exploited for political and personal gain… they always are.
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