Bollyshould(n't) Have

In all the hunguma over the depiction of homosexuality in Dostana, the movie Fashion managed to squeak past our radar. Fortunately, my vacation consists of my sisters cramming as many movies into a 3 day weekend as possible. And I'd like to say - there is a reason no one is talking about Fashion. Mostly because it sucks.

It should have been good. Really. There's sex, drugs, high fashion, a love triangle, and Priyanka Chopra. The movie is painstakingly slow for the beginning two-thirds. If you could just cut that out, it actually could have had some value. It's one of the few films with a story revolving completely around a female lead and the straight male roles can be barely described as supporting. It takes Indian female independence as a given, rather than a novelty and omg the female has sex and isn't rejected by all of society (let's convienently ignore the fact that she hits bottom low when she gasp! sleeps with a black man*). One of the best things about this movie is the themes of homosexuality. Afterall, you can't talk about the fashion industry and pretend like gay men don't exist, even in India. The initial depiction of one of the gay characters is cringe-inducing but he becomes less of a caricture and more of a person towards the end (the good half of the movie). And even better - they have more than one gay character, and the gay characters are not interested in each other; they have seperate storylines. The second gay role is more interesting - he's never caricturized, his gayness is treated as personal struggle that develops his character. He has to deal with rumors floating around at the Gurdwara about his current bachelor state and his mother's constant haranguing about marriage. In the end, he settles on a marriage of convenience with a female model and keeps his boyfriend. TWO gay roles, TWO seperate storylines...this movie is just begging to be loved. If it weren't for the shitty plotline, the unfinished feel, and the lack of rhythm, I'm sure something could have been salvaged out of it!

This movie had so much potential and the deadpan way that the gay characters were portrayed actually felt progressive in the same way the female independance was portrayed. Gayness wasn't debated in the movie as a moral issue, it wasn't treated as a "look at how Indian culture is changing! - gayness just was. It's as if the creator's of the movie were saying "Yeah, we know there are gay people. What's the big deal?" But maybe I'm giving too much credit to this movie. If it had been severely edited and had a clear message (were they trying to be progressive, or was that just an incidental?), maybe I could give it the benefit of the doubt. Now, for my last question - if there are gay characters in good Bollywood films and crappy Bollywood films, have Indian gays officially made it?

*okay, really Bollywood? I mean people are watching these films all over the world. It's time to stop being xenophobic and realize your reach is far beyond India's borders. We don't want our next post to be "Bollywood Backlash."

1 comment:

NeroX2 said...

no matter how bad the movie was, if it had a positive portrayal of gay men, then it probably was a step up from Dostana, which just played on gay stereotypes for laughs, right?