After the reading down of the law Sec 377 in September 2018 by the Supreme Court, thereby legalizing same-sex love in India, there has been a new focus in making the LGBTQ community more visible through cinema and the arts. Two Hindi feature films are slated to be released in theaters early 2019 – Evening Shadows directed by Sridhar Rangayan will release on January 11th and Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga directed by Shelly Chopra Dhar will release on February 1st.
While Evening Shadows starring Mona Ambegaonkar, Ananth Mahadevan and newcomers Devansh Doshi and Arpit Chaudhary is a heartwarming drama highlighting the struggle by a mother to accept her gay son; the film Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga starring Sonam Kapoor, Rajkumar Rao and Anil Kapoor is said to be a coming-of-age romantic comedy-drama. Both films seem to focus on the challenges faced by families in accepting their children who have a different love interest.
“It is a good time for Indian cinema to push boundaries and spotlight issues which have been hidden and buried till now. Bringing it to mainstream theaters for the larger audience to see the films with their families, will remove prejudices and pave way for an equal society”, said Sridhar Rangayan who is hopeful that his film Evening Shadows will make an impact on mindsets.
Filmmaker Onir, who has handled complex stories of same-sex love in his pathbreaking films My Brother Nikhil, I Am and Shab said, “Post the Supreme Court ruling on IPC 377, the New Year begins with a beautiful gift to LGBTQ cinema in India. Evening Shadows releasing on the 11th of Jan will hopefully start a new episode of more such narrative in our theaters . It’s a film about acceptance and celebrates love.”
It remains to be seen how cinema going audiences will react to these films.
“While Evening Shadows has won 13 audience and jury awards, and screened at more than 50 international film festivals around the world, the real test would be how mass audiences in India embrace our film”, said Rangayan who has been championing for LGBTQ cinema in India for over two decades with his films (Gulabi Aaina, Purple Skies, Breaking Free) and also organizing KASHISH, Mumbai’s LGBTQ film festival.