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Films That Brought LGBTQ Conversations To Silver Screen Pride Month Aligarh, Maurice

Films That Brought LGBTQ Conversations To Silver Screen Pride Month Aligarh, Maurice

It’s Pride Month, a celebration and commemoration of the queer community. Pride Month began in 1969 after the Stonewall Riots, a series of gay liberation protests. Every year various pride parades, shows and campaigns are held during this month to celebrate and acknowledge the struggle the community faces.

Film has a great role to play in influencing and initiating conversations that would otherwise not be easy. Sometimes they succeed in delivering what they intended, sometimes they backfire, sometimes they create controversies that will remain relevant and historic for years to come.

Here is a list of few such films that took the audience beyond what they knew and made people think about their rights and their lives:

Unlike Others (1919)

It was probably the first gay film in the world. Anders al die Andern, made in 1919, is a silent black-and-white German masterpiece. Movies used biological facts as a way to explain that homosexuality is part of human nature and nothing abnormal. The film was one of the first films to take a sympathetic look at homosexuality and speak in the direction of equality and acceptance of homosexuality. ‘Different from the rest’ remains a landmark in German film history.

Maurice (1987)

Directed by James Ivory and starring Hugh Grant (Clive Durham) and James Wilby (Maurice Hall). This movie is based on EM Forster’s novel ‘Maurice’. The film follows the lives of two Cambridge students and how they navigate love and sexuality, and how it affects their life courses. This movie was a breath of fresh air and unsettling to people. Watching young people in love was not what they expected or honestly wanted, but for the storytelling and cinematography, Maurice remains one of the classics of cinema.

Umberta (1982)

Starring Smita Patila as Sulabha in Umbarta, the highlight of the film is a lesbian affair between two inmates that turns out to be a scandal. It has been widely discussed in the media and in the government. The film is one of the first to hint at homosexuality in its plot. Even if the relationship is discussed negatively, ‘Umbarta’ takes the right step by talking about the taboo subject ahead of its time.

Brokeback Mountain (2005)

Directed by Ang Lee and starring Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal, the film explores the complicated romance between two American coy boys, Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist. The film sent a chilling shock across America, as ‘rough and tumble’ cowboys at their most masculine stared down young heartthrobs and turned America’s very soul into gay men, in love and together. It challenged the stereotypical idea of ​​what two boys in love looked like.

Fire (1996)

Starring Nandita Das and Shabana Azmi, Fire was one of the first mainstream Bollywood films to explicitly show homosexual relationships, and the first to feature a lesbian relationship. This film needs no introduction. After its release in India, activists staged several protests, sparking a frenzy of public debate on issues such as homosexuality and freedom of expression. Due to the theme of homosexuality, ‘Fire’ was banned in many countries and created an uproar among people, but it still shines as one of the best films ever made.

Bonge (1996)

It is an Indian anthology of short films directed by Riad Vinci Wadia and Janku Sethna. Kushal Punjabi and Rahul Bose are the lead actors in the film composed by Ashutosh Phatak. It is often considered to be India’s first gay film and focuses on the sub-gay culture of ‘Bombay’ in the post-liberalization metropolis of the 90s. Indian writer R. Bonge has six segments based on Raj Rao’s poetry. The film was not commercially released in India as Wadia did not submit it to the Censor Board, thinking that the film would be denied a certificate.

Aligarh (2015)

Starring Manoj Bajpai and Rajkumar Rao, it is the story of an ordinary gay man who tries to fit in after being suddenly thrown out of the closet. Unlike Brokeback Mountain, it is based on a true story. But cinema is like poetry, it says a lot and leaves even more unsaid. Dr. suspended from work due to sexual orientation. ‘Aligarh’ is a true story by Srinivas Ramachandra Siras. Due to the pressing issues of LGBTQ and press freedom, it sparked a debate and created an uproar among people. The film beautifully explores the story and questions the very foundations of the society we live in.

(Media student Vaishnavi Tripathi is currently pursuing her graduation from Chitkara University.)

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Films That Brought LGBTQ Conversations To Silver Screen Pride Month Aligarh, Maurice