Disney+ Hotstar's latest show, Aarya has been making waves for its fast-paced story telling and sought after actors. While all the eyes are on Sushmita Sen in the titular role, it's the character of ACP Khan that has us falling in love with the show.
While many shows make a character's sexuality and gender, especially if he isn't 'cis' gendered, the central theme, Aarya does the exact opposite.
ACP Khan, played by Vikas Kumar is the police officer investigating the drug ring that Sushmita Sen aka Aarya's husband was a part of. While he is pacing his office, trying to figure out what to do next, a constable walks in to inform him that someone has bought him dinner.
He steps out of the room, meets his boyfriend with a smile as the two have dinner together. And it's with this simple introduction that the show does justice to his role. It isn't in your face and ACP Khan isn't a token gay character to establish diversity. Not once does the show call Ajay his boyfriend, but the chemistry between the two and their domestic exchange makes it quite obvious.
They also manage to highlight the challenges he faces at work because of his orientation. While his boss passes a snide remark about being 'nice' and still not 'interested' - cop talk for 'no homo', a prisoner makes a crude comment about him being gay. We also get a glimpse into how Khan is still in the closet when it comes to his family when he asks Ajay to move out for a few days when his mother is visiting. All, obstacles that people of the community face on a daily basis.
It is refreshing to finally have an Indian web series that can handle LGBTQA+ characters sensitively and portray them in a mature, realistic manner. Not use them for comic relief or to establish a storyline. While Vikas Kumar isn't gay in real life, his understated portrayal of the character is commendable.
Vikas Kumar, who previously played a cop in Khotey Sikkey plays this role with an understated finesse, doing complete justice to a well-written show.