9 Indian Films That Portray Homosexuality Beyond Bollywood’s Stereotypes

Posted on 13 May, 2016 by Team Wishberry

LGBT Thanks to Bollywood, the portrayal of a homosexual individual has been botched to a level so horrendous that it’s going to take quite a long time before the portrayal of the queer community is handled with the maturity, thoughtfulness and open-mindedness required. However, all’s not lost. There are still a bunch of films from mainstream cinema as well as the LGBT community that’s trying it’s best to give queer stories the limelight it deserves. In lieu of the soon to begin Kashish Mumbai International Queer Film Festival 2016, we take a trip back time to some excellent homosexuality-themed films.


No list of this sort is complete without a worthy mention to Deepa Mehta’s Fire, which is considered to be the first ever Indian mainstream film exploring the subject of lesbianism. A beautifully painful story brought together by stellar performances by Shabana Azmi, Nandita Das and Ranjit Chowdhry along with the rest of the cast, this is one film that’ll get you even now.

Margarita With A Straw

Starring Kalki Koechlin as the lead, Shonali Bose’s Margarita With a Straw is not just a film portraying bisexuality, it’s one about the bisexual identity of a differently abled individual – perhaps, the most ignored group of the population in any conversation. What’s most beautiful about this film is that it portrays a tricky subject without even once getting to sappy, pitiful or melodramatic. This is one of the few films that promises to change your perspective on sexuality as well as the differently abled, and beautifully so.


Hansal Mehta’s Aligarh won hearts and accolades, and was perhaps the most talked about film last year and early this year. Based on the true story of Professor Ramchandra Siras of Aligarh Muslim University, the film holds a sharp mirror to Indian society’s brutal prejudice against homosexuality. It is hard-hitting, moving and thought-provoking in equal parts, and one that’s touted to mark a paradigm shift in the portrayal of homosexuality in India.


Set against the idyllic backdrop of rural Kerala, this is a heart wrenching Malayalam coming of age story directed by Ligy J. Pullappally. The film revolves around two young friends and their unconventional yet delicate love in a traditional community. From the location to the story to the characters and eventual heartache, this is a film that will hold your heart until the very end.


Bomgay is a short film by Riyad Vinci Wadia, consisting of six segments – each one based on a poem by R. Raj Rao. The film stars Rahul Bose and Kushal Punjabi in lead roles, and is regarded as India’s first gay film, although it was never really released in India commercially. What makes this film one to watch out for is the way it explores the underground gay identity and the emerging community in an India that’s on the cusp of modernization.


Mitraa is a Black and White Marathi short film by Ravi Jadhav, based on two works – Sandip Khare’s poem ‘Atasha Nakose Vatate Mala He’ and Vijay Tendulkar’s ‘Mitrachi Goshta’. It is set in the pre-independence era when the roles of both genders in a film were played by people of the same sex.

Yours Emotionally

Yours Emotionally is directed by Sridhar Rangayan and is one of those rare films that poses questions about cultural identities and stereotypes through the participation of more than 100 members from the LGBT community.


Directed by Rituparno Ghosh and based on the story of Chitrangada from the Mahabharata, this is a story of a choreographer struggling with his gender identity. This film is not only worth a watch for stellar acting by the entire cast, but also for the light it sheds on the struggles of people who fall outside of society’s conventions, at every level.

Aarekti Premer Galpo

Directed by Kaushik Ganguly and starring Riturparno Ghosh, this is the first film on homosexuality to be made after the decriminalization of Section 377. The film revolves around a transgender documentary filmmaker and his journey to Kolkata as he sets out to make a documentary of a legendary Jatra actor known for his portrayal of female roles. Through the characters of this film and a rather unique narrative, the viewers are offered a long look into the trials and tribulations of a transgender in India.   Obvious honourable mentions to films like I Am, My Brother Nikhil, Surviving Sabu, Thang among others! Catch some of the best of LGBTQ films from India and around the world at the 7th edition of KASHISH MIQFF! Click Here to register for the 7th KASHISH MIQFF!

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