cinema: Sighting the elephant in the room!
Tamil cinema has successfully come out of the
closet by portraying two gay men as regular couple
without making a mockery of alternate sexuality;
are we finally sensitized to such social issues?
Sensitization is one thing, the fact that we have
been closeted to the whole idea of homosexuality,
while still ignorant to the strong undercurrent
of such themes existing since time unknown in
our movies, is astoundingly real.
As a nation, our sensibilities on male bonding creep
to the level of same-sex attraction shattering the
fine balance existing between male – male
straight friendship and homosexuality. And Tamil
movies have, from time unknown, been unintentionally
portraying such friendships – often weird
but they existed since people who watched it would
have had no clue about the whole deal altogether.
As a Gen-X or Gen-Y civilian you might now find
it odd to see two men / women holding hands together,
walking down the streets, leaning onto each other’s
shoulders in public or hugging each other from behind.
For you will find it gay. But wait, you have watched
it all the same in our movies forever: a
friend resting on the chest of another bare-chest friend
while sharing a smoke and lip-synching to the lyrics of
‘Mustafa Mustafa’ about the greatness of friendship
or Sivaji and Balaji holding hands and singing to the
tunes of ‘Naan Paartha Pennai’ about their
As my friend and reader Sharmila points out, the love
between two male friends sometimes supersedes the love
they have for their women. As is demonstrated in the
case of Moondru Mudichu where Kamal and Rajini’s
friendship surpass the love they share for their women.
There is an undeniable, and strong nevertheless, undercurrent
of such instance when Rajini goes ballistic about Kamal
seeing the gal he has his eyes on. But the issue is
not that: Kamal refuses to believe Sridevi because he
apparently hero-worships Rajini. The strong emotional
bond shared between the lead men often crosses all the
written rules of friendship between two straight men
in the ‘Tamil cinema’ context.
And not to mention, the lyrics ‘Natpai Kooda
Karpai Pola Ennuven’ goes on to demonstrate that
the hero (and we all know, it’s the lyricist)
equates friendship with chastity. It’s a case
of stretching things too far but it existed all the
same in our movies of heroes we idolize(d). Vettaiyadu
Vilayadu had strong homosexual references but it’s
a different case altogether; portraying two homosexuals
as criminals who have sex with women is misleading.
Such instances are aplenty not only in Tamil movies
but in Bollywood as well.
So why are we celebrating Goa as a coming of age movie?
Because Venkat Prabhu dared. Dared enough to poke at
our sensibilities to wake us up from the self-imposed
homophobia. Unintentionally, he has also opened up new
avenues for discussions about alternate sexuality openly,
and not to mention millions of opinions. For instance,
my colleague found it god-awful and disturbing to see
two men hugging each other and running an all-men household
family together. “What will happen to our values,”
PS: (For hate mailers: the movies referred to here
are only indicative and taken as examples from a cross-section
of Tamil movies)
Behindwoods is not responsible for the views of columnists.