As we officially wrap up pride month, here is a gentle reminder that your activism and support don’t end here. Bollywood ate up gay pride as if they were starving kids and it was the last grain of rice, but how much of it was gimmicks and how much of it was real? We’ll soon find out.
In the meantime, here are 5 LGBTQ+ actors who def deserve more praise than they get:
1. Bobby Darling
Bobby Darling pioneered the trans rights movement in Bollywood. Wow, I can only imagine how hard it was to come out at the time she did. She made several appearances on television shows like Sacch Ka Saamna and Bollywood movies, most notably Hasee Toh Phasee.
2. Sushant Divgikar/Rani KoHEnur
Model, TV host and performer Sushant Divgikar/Rani KoHEnur won Mr Gay World India back in 2014 and is now the national director of the organisation. In 2014, they were also a contestant on Bigg Boss Season 8.
3. Anwesh Sahoo
Like Divgikar/KoHEnur, artist, blogger, writer, model and actor Anwesh Sahoo also won Mr Gay World India in 2016 and went on to represent his country at Mr Gay World in Malta, Europe that year, even making it to the top 12. Listen up folks, there’s more to the world than Ms India. They deserve our support too.
4. Rituparno Ghosh
Rituparno Ghosh was one of the most popular film directors, actors and writers of his time. He was very popular in the art film industry and collected great accolades in the world of Bengali cinema. His story is actually quite famous. Rituparno discovered that he was gay during the 2000s but wasn’t afraid of his sexuality. The only thing that made him paranoid was society’s reaction to it. But thankfully, he said fuck it and during his later life went through several surgeries to match his sexuality. Good for him. Maybe this be a ray of hope for the LGBTQ+ masses out who are struggling to cope up with their sexuality.
5. Yuvraj Menda
Yuvraj Menda’s debut in Zoya Akhtar’s Archies symbolises a new wave of queer representation in Bollywood. The gen-z representative is a gifted dancer and content creator who will essay the role of Dilton Doiley, a nerdy teen, loved by Archie and the gang. Menda is reminiscent of the hope of an accepting and representative future Bollywood has the potential to embody. Hopefully, the new generation of the Hindi film industry will welcome him with open arms!
It is pitiful that this list has to be so small. It takes a lot of courage for a queer individual to come out in a country like India and even more courage to survive in a harsh, cutthroat industry like Bollywood, We can only hope that in the future Bollywood casts more queer talent in the roles that they deserve. They deserve real screen time and not just to be confined to contestants on Big Boss. And while you’re at it, stop casting heterosexual actors in queer roles!