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Mainstream Bollywood makes history with its first lesbian romance

In a landmark move against the archaic heteronormative dogmas that are prevalent throughout the South-Asian subcontinent, first-time director Shelly Chopra Dhar has portrayed a lesbian romance in for the first time in mainstream Bollywood.

The film, titled Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga, follows the protagonist Sweety and traces her attempts to navigate homosexuality whilst living alongside her religious and traditional Punjabi family. The film stars some of the biggest names in Bollywood.

Director Shelly Chopra Dhar has made history by depicting the first lesbian romance mainstream Bollywood has seen, following the country’s decriminalisation of gay sex last year.

Bollywood has a history of being shockingly insensitive to LGBTQI+ rights. The industry often relies on sexism, racism and homophobia as the butt of its jokes.

The film’s main character is subject to emotional torment from her toxically masculine brother when he discovers her sexual orientation. The patriarchal ideology held by certain communities in India is put into focus in the film, and director Dhar highlights the leaps and bounds in which the country has to progress until its citizens who do not identify as heterosexual are treated with the same respect as their counterparts.

Critics have deemed the film important, well-intended and unapologetic; it has forced a cushioned lesbian narrative onto Indian audiences in the hope of normalising non-heterosexual relationships. The film’s uncomfortable depictions of racism and Islamaphobia cleverly highlight the ills that unfortunately transcend every level of Indian society, subtly contriving a delicate network of intersectionality that, until recognised, cannot be disrupted.

Via The Guardian.

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February 5, 2019

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