The next part of Channel 4’s 2012 Autumn Bollywood film season will be the forthrightly titled Queer India.
So far details on just two films have emerged: My Brother … Nikhil and Fire.
2005 film My Brother … Nikhil was inspired by the real-life story of Dominic D’Souza, India’s first known HIV patient.
Set in Goa, the film tells the story of successful young sportsman Nikhil Kapoor (Sanjay Suri), who’s is adored by his elder sister Anamika (Juhi Chawla) and mother (Lillete Dubey). But, unknown to his family, Nikhil is gay and in love with Nigel (Purab Kohli).
The film was one of the first mainstream Indian films to feature gay men as lead protagonists and is a brave and engaging portrait of a man’s battle against the social discrimination directed against AIDS sufferers.
Continuing the latest season’s films is another sensitive portrayal of same sex relationships. Deepa Mehta’s Fire is the first part of her Elements trilogy, of which I’ve only seen Water so far, but promises to be another interesting, non-masala film (not art house exactly, but more serious than traditional Bollywood movies).
Mehta’s 1996 film Fire is loosely based on Ismat Chugtai‘s 1941 story Lihaf (The Quilt) and was one of the first mainstream films in India to explicitly show homosexual relations.
Early details about this Saturday’s showing of Sancharaam didn’t indicate that it too would be part of the Queer India season, though that is not the case (and it won’t be shown next week as was also, initially, the case).
• Fire – Thursday 18 October, 01:05 – 03:00
• My Brother … Nikhil – Thursday 11 October, 02:00 – 04:05