A Letter to Bollywood (Cue:Melodramatic Music)

Posted by Shreya Bansal
Artwork by Vanshika Singh


Dear Hindi Film Industry,

You took me all around London and Switzerland, making me believe that romance was meant to happen in the middle of a snow storm. You’ve shattered my idea of broadway and replaced it with ridiculously timed song and dance sequences that, pop in and out just like the ‘female lead’ in your movie. Above all you have given me an unrealistic idea of life and reality.

As an ardent follower of Bollywood, I’ve made peace with the three hour movies – and I may sometime even enjoy those three hours. But what I can’t wrap my head around is your notions of gender and sexuality that constantly appear on my movie screen. You take your big, authoritative, corny males, accompanied by fair, slim waist, coy females and try to shove this idea of gender down my brain. I constantly resisted, believe me I did, until I finally gave up on you as a film industry.

When a cis male doesn’t run after women or make her uncomfortable with his stalking and staring, it does not imply that he’s gay. When a woman likes to do things greater than “winning over” the toxic masculine boy around, believe it or not, it doesn’t fall upon you to tell your audiences that she’s “kind of a lesbian”. However, it does fall upon you to represent multiple sexual and gender identities without stereotyping and appropriating their experiences. You’re the source of entertainment and also information to an inherently homophobic and traditionally regressive society, it falls upon on you to lift the LGBTQ community beyond the status of a joke and side- story humour.

So finally dear bollywood, if you’re considered to be a religion in a country of 3.14 billion people, please start acting like it.

Just your regular bollywood fanatic.

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You can read more at : From F.R.I.E.N.D.S to Modern Family : How Has On Screen Queer Representation Evolved?

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