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This article was first published 5 years ago  » Movies » Lesbian love in the movies

Lesbian love in the movies

By Sukanya Verma
January 17, 2019 10:41 IST
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Bollywood has dealt with same sex relationships before, but homophobia runs deep.

Depiction of homosexuality in Bollywood has a long way to go.

Between caricatures mined for cheap laughs or cringey inquiries like 'Are you Lebanese?' the homophobia runs disturbingly deep.

Sonam Kapoor's cleverly titled new film Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga, co-starring Anil Kapoor, Rajkummar Rao, Juhi Chawla, Akshay Oberoi and Regina Cassandra -- which looks into the challenges of same sex relationships in small-town India -- gives us hope.

Sukanya Verma takes a quick look at the handful attempts made before it.


Angry Indian Goddesses (2015)

Pan Nalin's hard-hitting Angry Indian Goddesses covers a vast range of topics through its scenes of female bonding.

One of the subplots involves a wedding Sarah Jane Dias is hosting for her friends.

That her groom-to-be is, in fact, a girl (Tannishtha Chatterjee) is dropped in as a surprise, one that her pals eventually warm up to.

The turn of events is not particularly persuasive, but laudable for the acceptance it is trying to seek.


Margarita, With a Straw (2015)

Kalki Koechlin delivers one of her best works as the young woman suffering from cerebral palsy in the Shonali Bose film.

How her romance with Sayani Gupta and confusion over her sexuality stresses her family is neatly explored and resolved in its poignant telling.


Qissa (2015)

Anup Singh's Partition drama is uncompromised film-making at its unsettling best.

Qissa is about a woman (Tillotama Shome) raised like a boy and married off to another woman (Rasika Duggal) resulting in convoluted dilemmas and sexual ambiguity.

It is both -- terrifying and heartbreaking at once.


Dedh Ishqiya (2014)

Con women and lovers Madhuri Dixit and Huma Qureshi's charms and deceitful glances in Dedh Ishqiya seduce and betray in equal measure.

The true nature of their close bond is only revealed towards the end in a poetic nod to Ismat Chughtai's Lihaaf.


Ragini MMS 2 (2014)

Homosexuality is employed as a gimmick in Ragini MMS 2. And so in a moment of dare, Sunny Leone and Sandhya Mridul share a lip lock with the sole intention of titillating the audience.


Heroine (2012)

Just when you think Kareena Kapoor and Shahana Goswami's night of passion, if only insinuated, might break new grounds in Indian cinema, Heroine gets apologetic about it.

Goswami looks embarrassed and insists she is 'no lesbian' and Bebo goes in amnesia mode. Let us not forget Madhur Bhandarkar directed this.


Kyaa Super Kool Hain Hum (2012)

If Abhishek Bachchan and John Abraham pretend to be gay to rent an apartment in Dostana, Neha Sharma and Sarah Jane Dias propagate a false illusion of being lovers to avoid unwanted attention in Kyaa Super Kool Hain Hum.

UnKool is more like it.


Girlfriend (2004)

Karan Razdan’s toxic idea of lesbianism and insistence to shove it down our throats is offensive to the core.

In his godawful thriller, Isha Kopikkar’s child abuse and Amrita Arora’s alcoholism are responsible for one’s obsessive and another's sporadic attraction leading to excruciating scenes of awkward sex and mindless violence.

The Rediff Review


Fire (1996)

Deepa Mehta's Fire caused much hullaballoo among the moral police when it released. But her bold yet sensitive account of a pair of sisters-in-law (Shabana Azmi and Nandita Das) discovering love and liberation in one another remains one of the most significant movies on the subject.


Razia Sultan (1983)

The wild homoerotic vibe between a regal Hema Malini and sensual Parveen Babi while the latter puts her queen to sleep against the sublime lullaby, Khwab Bankar Koi Aayega is right up among Bollywood's most intimate same sex imagery.

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Sukanya Verma