Are we strangers to Hindi films tossing homophobic jokes to gain cheap chuckles? Nope. In fact, homosexual characters are primarily accommodated in films to offer a barrel of laughter at their expense. Unaware of the underlying homophobia, we did vibe to ‘maa da ladla bigad gaya’ too.
Nonetheless, a Twitter user @manishgaekwad has traced homophobic elements in films back to Bollywood years ago, which we all looked at but perhaps missed.
Sholay, an iconic film that has gone down in the history of Hindi cinema, had scenes that reeked of classic homophobia but we nonchalantly overlooked them.
Classic homophobia coded in Hindi films.— manishgaekwad (@manishgaekwad) June 17, 2022
In Pix 1 you see the queer inmate in Sholay with number 6 on his shirt. 6 is slang for chakka, sixer, homo.
Inmate eyes the most macho cis-het man Veeru (Dharmendra), the HE-Man of Hindi cinema. He-Man doesn’t mind it. Jailor minds. pic.twitter.com/62eM5VHDA1
Jailor is modelled on you guessed it right: Hitler. The man who persecuted gay men by coding them with a pink triangle badge in the Nazi concentration camps.— manishgaekwad (@manishgaekwad) June 17, 2022
Coming back to the inmate. How is he identified as queer? The number 6, the comma curl, the obsequious demeanour. pic.twitter.com/zf9Ek1loC1
Veeru Dada, starring Dharmendra, promulgated the code of how homosexual men should seem; in this case, the character was represented by a cis-het Shakti Kapoor.
The coding becomes the standard.— manishgaekwad (@manishgaekwad) June 17, 2022
The comma curl reappears in Veeru Dada, but now with chalky eyeshadow, frills and jhumkas.
He-Man reappears too. Code expert.
He flirts back with the gay man played by Shakti Kapoor, and later beats him up. pic.twitter.com/jgseK0kBDq
In Mast Kalandar, the He-Man of Bollywood returns to shave off Pinkoo’s (Kher’s) curly mohawk while warning his father ‘Koi baal waali aulad paida kar, chakke nahi.’
He-Man has a lot of beef with gay men.— manishgaekwad (@manishgaekwad) June 17, 2022
In Mast Kalandar, he returns to shave off Pinkoo’s (Kher’s) curly mohawk. What’s that code for? Castrate?
He-Man warns Kher’s father Amrish Puri. ‘Koi baal waali aulad paida kar, chakke nahi.’
Chakke manjhey? 6. Number 6 Copy that #Pride pic.twitter.com/HNuA9VEZlk