#UriAttacks: Is entertainment industry the softest target for everyone?

The recent #UriAttacks left 18 soldiers dead, with their families bereaved. Everyone, including the netizens of India, was shocked, and condemned the cowardly attack. However, something more was about to come, something which remotely had nothing to do with the whole incident, yet had to bear the brunt of the same.

If you have been following the news and social media for the past few days, you must have come across singer Abhijeet Bhattacharya’s tweet where he expressed that he wanted all the Pakistani artists and actors ousted from the country, because, apparently, according to him, defaming and throwing them out will be the end of terrorism.

You can see the tweet here.

abhijeet-tweet-on-pak-actors

 

Well, MNS was quick to follow suit and soon issued a notice that all the actors and artists of Pakistani origin will have to leave India within 48 hours, or else they will be forcefully removed from the country.

We ask, is that the solution?

The whole Bollywood condemned the Uri Attacks, prayed for our soldiers, but because they considered attack on Pak artists as an attack on art, they were considered anti-nationals. Immediately, the three Khans were tagged on various social media posts, with people asking for their statements, just on the basis of their religion. Well, not cool.

Entertainment industry, of both India and Pakistan, is immensely popular, and sadly, the softest target as a result. The exchange of art between the two countries is minimal, if one considers the monetary worth, but people calling for a ban on Pakistani artists do not understand that this is not the solution, the problem lies deeper.

We agree that a statement on the #UriAttack by the Pak artists would have been much appreciated. Just one statement saying that they are sorry for the lives lost, and nothing which might question their patriotism towards their own nation, given they will support the country they reside in. However, is it decent to call them names and hold them responsible for the demeaning act that has been carried by terrorists?

An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind, and that is what is happening right now. As Fawad Khan has reportedly left the country, we do have to ponder over the fact as to why was he in particular targeted so much for an attack that came from his country while he was busy shooting for an Indian movie which will earn money here? Was it because he is a star? Or was it because the motive of these people was not expressing patriotism, but in fact getting (in)famous, as blaming a highly popular star serves the purpose just right.

Whatever might be the reason, we mourn for the lives lost on the border, the least we can appeal to our fellow citizens is implore the government to look into graver solutions to this problem, rather than demeaning the memory of the martyrs by proposing such frivolous solutions. War and defence are matters of lives, lives of people who guard us. It’s time we stop milking it for cheap fame. It’s time we stop targeting entertainment industry for everything wrong that goes in the country, by finding one trivial common factor. It’s time, we ponder, as Indians, for once.

Kapoor & Sons: Caught the plight of homosexuals tenderly and yet made 'coming out' look doable

Kapoor & Sons: Caught the plight of homosexuals tenderly and yet made 'coming out' look doable
Image Source - YouTube

Kapoor & Sons – Since 1921. The house proudly flaunted that to the world, nestled in the greens of Coonoor. No one knew the darkness that was inside, the demons that were individually dealt with. But then, isn’t every family like that?

#UriAttacks: Is entertainment industry the softest target for everyone?

Two years have passed by since this Shakun Batra-directorial, story of a dysfunctional family had come to our lives. However, amongst the various themes that tore apart the family and eventually brought it together, one that truly had the power to transform, was that of homosexuality.

Not many know, that the role played by Fawad Khan, that of family’s elder son, a successful author, was actually offered to many A-listers, who turned it down, eventually leading him to step into the shoes of Rahul. And it was, indeed, a very big step on his part. He was venturing out of his territory, a man who has such a huge female-fan following, and comes from a country with religion as its main running philosophy. He did the role and brought such conviction to it that we were forced to stand up and applaud, his courage, and the beauty with which his character was carved.

#UriAttacks: Is entertainment industry the softest target for everyone?

Since times immemorial, all our memories of gay characters on screen have been that of carelessly effeminate and unimportant roles, which are just there to add a comic element. The stereotype has been high to an extent that often the champions of the same channelise it and promote it, for it is wrapped in the shiny paper of presentation. The biggest example of this was ‘Dostana’, which was an amazing story of friendship, still used homosexuality as humour, as its backdrop. Ironically, it came from the same production house, though nearly eight years before that.

#UriAttacks: Is entertainment industry the softest target for everyone?

But ‘Kapoor & Sons’ begged to differ here. The character here was real, someone who was hiding himself, for the society, his family. There was surreality to the theme of homosexuality here, which had the power to jar us inside out; and that, it did.

Two scenes from the movie specifically hit me. First one is when Sunita (Ratna Patak Shah) finds out that her ideal elder son, whom she adores and is proud of, is not straight. The aftereffects of the same jolt you, because the reaction is just what an Indian mother gives, in any situation that is beyond her control; uncontrollable anger at the offspring, and then uncontrollable guilt, of blaming herself and her upbringing. The scene is filmed so beautifully, that your eyes sting. The way Fawad’s facade falls and his fear is marked across his face, which is then replaced by the anger of hiding himself for all those years, and mother’s dilemma and hurt, it all comes out in a naked and real manner.

#UriAttacks: Is entertainment industry the softest target for everyone?

Another sequence is when Rahul (Fawad Khan) comes back home after the showdown with his mother and the death of his father totally uproots whatever sanity his family possessed. He sits with his mother, with whom his last encounter was one of his coming out, and she asks, hesitatingly, about his partner. A subtle way of expressing acceptance, the way they hold hands, without saying anything, it stays with you.

#UriAttacks: Is entertainment industry the softest target for everyone?

It may not be one masterpiece, but ‘Kapoor & Sons’ will forever remain a favourite for finally breaking the mainstream stereotype of a gay man, in Bollywood. And for that, no matter how many bans, I will forever be waiting for Fawad Khan to come back, and give us more performances; with dare and conviction.

#UriAttacks: Is entertainment industry the softest target for everyone?

An ode to Sridevi, the queen who inspired the queers long before it became mainstream

An ode to Sridevi, the queen who inspired the queers long before it became mainstream
Image Source - Pinterest

“I am a kid from the 90s but still can’t forget those days when, me-myself was not out and proud about my preferences. And inside my own sweet world would dance in front of the mirror on many songs, but majorly on ‘Hawa Hawai’ and ‘Main Teri Dushman, Dushman Tu Mera’. These songs were just not tunes for me, it made me feel exactly what I was; a QUEERby birth”.

#UriAttacks: Is entertainment industry the softest target for everyone?
Image Source - India Forums

The news of the legendary diva Sridevi being no more with us is still hard to believe, as she was part of my and every queer’s childhood memories. While in the late 90s my bunch of friends would idolise a star from the West as their gay icon, me being a full-fledged Bollywood fanatic was in love with Sridevi and she was a diva I used to worship (and will forever). Her golden costume and perfectly done makeup in ‘Hawa Hawai’ made me feel, “Yes! There is someone like me out there who loves bling and all things loud.” Her feather headgear in one of the songs from ‘Roop Ki Rani Choron Ka Raja’, touched my drag Queen‘s soul. One of the lines from her song ‘Hawa Hawai’ which is ‘Soorat Hi Maine Aisi Paayi’ transported me into a world where I thought that there is someone narcissist just like me. Sridevi’s charm was on my mind and the feminine side in me just wanted to be a replica of her.

#UriAttacks: Is entertainment industry the softest target for everyone?
Image Source - Pinterest

The gone actress has not only given a lot to the Indian cinema, but her sass and talent of naturally moulding herself into any character gave her an upper hand in whatever she used to do. When many gay men were struggling and were confused about their sexual orientation they found a connection to their on-going pain in Sridevi’s roles. Whether it was Sridevi as a meek Anju and ferocious Manju fighting for everything wrong in ‘ChaalBaaz’ (1989), Pooja’s mutiny against the everlasting societal conditions in ‘Lamhe’ (1991), Seema’s confidence-filled and fearless dance in the ‘Mr. India’ (1987) song ‘Hawa Hawaai’ or her role of a naagin (snake) coming out to the world about her dual identity in ‘Nagina’ (1986), Sri’s roles had a deep connection and were etched in every GAY man’s mind.

#UriAttacks: Is entertainment industry the softest target for everyone?
Image Source - giphy.com

And how can one miss ‘Kate Nahin Kat Te’ song of Sridevi from ‘Mr. India’, where she owned the song and made every gay guy’s dream to dance on it once with his man. This particular song was wild, seductive and equal parts bold. Sridevi draped in a sky-blue coloured saree with a matching bindi and of course adding fuel to the fire was her dancing moves. Even at the end of the song, a fully wet in rainwater, Sridevi stretching herself on a pile of hay – ‘Tumne jo li angdayi hai’ – where the diva nibbles on straws with a drenched fire in her eyes, leaving Mr. Kapoor to chivalrously lie on a distant haystack.

While mostly when the film fraternity was in a zone where feminine men were used as a tool to add fun elements on the silver screen, Sridevi was a ray of hope for the LGBTQ community. She was like a powerful symbol for the QUEERS. Her role resonated each and every gays struggle, and also echoed their dysphoria into her characters. And with her, all the queer children surpassed the narrow-minded stereotypes which they were labelled with. Lastly, she might be gone, but the colourful rainbow universe she opened for all the fellow LGBTQ people remains there intact..

Hail the QUEEN! RIP Sridevi.