'Change the mindset'

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By Birth right and creative freedom - here's what our actors and directors have to say on the court verdict decriminalising gay sex
  • Published 4.07.09
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Raima Sen

(Acted in Subrata Sen’s Nil Nirjane which hinted at a lesbian relationship; will work in Kaushik Ganguly’s Chhaya Chhobi)

The court verdict was great! Homosexuals have the right to live the way they want and since we are a democracy and we stress on personal freedom, it is necessary to ensure the same for homosexuals. A lot of people hide their sexual orientation, get married and ruin their lives and their spouses’. I think this ruling will help several closet gays and lesbians come out.... The film Nil Nirjane didn’t exactly show a lesbian relationship; a woman’s character (played by Mou) was in love with my character.... I don’t mind doing a film on homosexuality provided the director is very good.

Churni Ganguly

(Did the telefilm Ushno-tar Jonyo on a lesbian relationship)

I think the court’s decision won’t have any immediate impact on society. As artistes we always had creative freedom to portray homosexuality on screen. Many films have been made on the subject, even when gay sex was criminalised. But a mere court order cannot change the attitude of the people, at least not very soon. People who are homophobic will remain that way, no matter how broadminded we are. We may say that it’s all right to have our own sexual preferences, but do you think parents accept such preferences? It’s good that the court has decriminalised it, otherwise homosexuality would have always existed on the sly. I welcome the decision because I have no problems with people who are oriented differently.... I am not homophobic but if there was somebody in my family who had a different sexual orientation, I don’t know if I could accept it.

Locket Chatterjee

(Has done a liplock with Dona in Aniket Chatterjee’s yet-to-release Cha-E-Chuti)

I am very happy. Films won’t have any problems with the censor board from now on. Besides, a director who is making a film on a gay or a lesbian relationship will have more creative freedom and will be able to express his views more clearly. As actors we too can shed inhibitions and do such scenes freely.... I think everyone has the right to choose his or her partner irrespective of the gender. I think the court should have decriminalised it long ago. They took a long time to understand that people are born with their sexual orientation and that cannot be illegal in any way.

Dona

(Locket’s co-star in Cha-E-Chuti)

Decriminalising gay sex is all right but will that change the way we look at gays and lesbians? Asserting one’s sexual preferences is a person’s birth right. Now filmmakers and actors will have more creative freedom and portray same-sex relationships explicitly. But our society has to accept them. The mindset of the people has to change.

Roopa Ganguly

(Played a lesbian in the telefilm Ushno-tar Jonyo and in Anjan Das’s Jara Brishtite Bhijechhilo)

I salute the judiciary for accepting such a thing. In today’s world, homosexuality is nothing to hide. An adult should have the right to practise his or her sexual choice and there shouldn’t be any societal hindrance. The judgment will allow for better creative expression to artistes, and films like Fire will not be banned anymore.... I had loved doing Ushno-tar Jonyo, where I played a woman who thought like a man and detested being in a woman’s body. It had allowed me to understand what a man who thought like a woman felt like.

Q

Tina and Ritika in an intimate moment in Bishh

(Director, Bishh)

The court ruling is great news for filmmakers! It will be possible for us to explore these issues further. We have been beating around the bush for too long now. Instead of three gay/lesbian films we will now have 30, but I am not too sure how realistic the depiction would be. The mindset of the people has to change too. For me it has never been an issue and the court sanction means that the judiciary stands by them and that’s great support for people who have a different sexual orientation. It’s a very positive change. I welcome it.

Kaushik Ganguly

(Had made Ushno-tar Jonyo; will make the film Chhaya Chhobi on a gay filmmaker)

I am happy because the utility of my film will increase. After the court verdict, Chhaya Chhobi will be the first film on homosexuality to hit the floors. The law has taken enough time to decriminalise gay sex, something that has a mention in the Ramayana too. But my question is, will the common people accept it? If they can’t, then they should watch my film where I am going to project homosexuality as something that is very, very natural.

Do gay/lesbian scenes in films make you uncomfortable? Tell t2@abpmail.com