LGBT+ Representation Done Right In Bollywood

Editorials News | Jun-09-2021

LGBT+ Representation Done Right In Bollywood

Bollywood has often represented the LGBTQ+ community as comic relief or left them out of the conversation entirely. The stereotypical flamboyant way of portrayal of a gay man can often be seen on the silver screen. Mainstream Bollywood lacked the representation and the minuscule representation that is there can be called problematic at its best. However, even the darkest clouds have a silver lining. Some rare offbeat movies have shaken up the largely conservative nation of India. These gem’s portrayal of queer characters and desires left a mark on the audience.


Released in 1996, is a film directed by Deepa Mehta that took the traditional Indian audience by storm. Radha and Sita, sisters-in-law, unhappy in their traditional Hindu marriages and mundane lives, find love, intimacy, and companionship with each other.

This film caused public outrage from the conservative sects and was also banned in India. But even after 24 years of its release, it continues to stands tall with its ahead of time depiction of female desire within a same-sex relationship

My Brother Nikhil

Debuted in 2005, directed by Onir, talks about the AIDS pandemic in the gay community during the 90s and early 2000s. It talks about a stigma in an already stigmatized section of society and its impact on the gay community.

The story is told through the lens of the closeted man when he is forced to come out when he contracts AIDS. He is being shunned by society, with his only support system being his sister and his lover. It is a story of struggle, love and, life.

Margarita with a Straw

Directed by Shonali Bose, released in 2014. Laila played by Kalki Koechlin is a young woman with cerebral palsy and her journey, when she goes off to the USA and explores her sexuality.

It is a coming-of-age of a woman navigating and living in an ableist world and dealing with her sexuality. Even with the focus on the disabled, queer protagonist, this is a universal tale of finding love and acceptance.


Directed by Hansal Mehta released in 2015. It is based on the real-life of professor Ramchandra Siras who taught at the famous Aligarh Muslim University. He was forced to come out when he was caught being intimate with another man. What followed is a tale of violence and intolerance from the conservative groups within his society and the workplace.

This film also highlights section 377of the Indian Penal Code which was struck down by the supreme court in 2009.

Subh Mangal Zyada Savdhan

India’s first homosexual rom-com was released in 2020. This movie deals with the acceptance of homosexual relationships on a lighter note. This was also the first time when the queer-centric movie was not a documentary or a dark palette movie. This was a great step in normalizing homosexual relationships.

By Deeksha Goyal