With trailblazer ‘ELKDTAL’, it’s finally ‘Apna Time Aayega’ moment for the LGBTQ community

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Filmmaking is not an easy task and marking your directorial debut with a film like ‘Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Laga’ is a very brave move. Director Shelly Chopra Dhar gave us the most unexpected romance of the year in the real sense as she has very beautifully portrayed the story of a simple small town girl who aspires to love and live freely.

The film that released last Friday has received a mixed response from the viewers, while most of the reviewers are praising the makers for its bold subject. Now, for those who have not seen this film yet, this write-up will be a bit of a spoiler. After watching the film, I was in two minds – whether to focus on its flaws (there are plenty) or embrace its purity and simplicity. I am going with the latter because that’s how films affect you when they’re made with good intent.

At no point in the film, you get to see Regina and Sonam exchange more than a sentence. How do they open up to each other and eventually fall in love is not what the film focuses on. Their love story forms the sub-plot of the film because the main plot solely highlights Sweety’s (Sonam’s character) plight as she is struggling to exist in the so-called world of ‘normal’ people. She craves acceptance from the people who matter the most i.e her family.

The climax of ‘ELKDTAL’ also doesn’t try to hammer the film’s message on its audience. They simply tell viewers that ‘Love is love’, and homosexuality is not a disease. Same-sex love is as normal and natural as heterosexual love. The film very poignantly conveys that the way one can’t choose their parents or gender at the time of birth, in the same way, one can’t choose their sexuality or decide whom to fall in love with. It’s as simple as that. No matter who you are – a heterosexual, bi-sexual, gay, lesbian, transgender or anything you wish to identify with, no one should judge you or your choices. Love is beyond any label and boundaries. You simply cannot confine it.

I agree that the film could have been much much better in so many ways but what we all need to appreciate right now is that it has opened the floodgates and perhaps very soon, we will get to see the LGBTQ community being represented in a much better way and not simply being reduced to a caricature.

In Hindi cinema, ‘ELKDTAL’ is not the first film that revolves around homosexuality. I think I won’t be wrong if I say that it is one of those rare films (on such a bold theme) that anyone can watch with their parents without any apprehensions or awkwardness.

And as for all those people (including me) who wanted to see more of Kuhu and Sweety’s innocent love story, we can only wish that the makers of ‘ELKDTAL’ plan to make a sequel or a prequel (whatever they prefer to call it) which is solely dedicated to their journey as lovers.

If I can sum up the message of this entire film in just one line, then I will go with the evergreen lyrics of Indeevar saab – “Na umar ki seema ho, Na janam ka ho bandhan.. Jab pyaar kare koi, toh dekhe keval mann.” 

‘Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Laga’ might not be one of those films which will bring in a revolution but it is certainly a trailblazer film when it comes to mainstream cinema. With all the love and acceptance it is being showered with, one can say that it’s finally Apna Time Aayega moment for the LGBTQ community. And perhaps, other filmmakers will follow suit and come up with more such sensitive and heartwarming films.

Also Read: Are Indian filmmakers making genuine biopics or propaganda films?